Friday, March 15, 2013

Thankful for small miracles...

On Sunday, March 10th, I started to feel those same familiar pains in my left side…I was not happy…I did not want to have to deal with this right now on top of everything else.  I kept praying for a miracle. I became so sad and discouraged because the pain was not improving as the day wore on…in fact, it was progressively getting worse.  I knew that I would be headed to the doctor in the morning…where was my miracle?

I did receive a miracle…just not the one I had been praying for (to be healed)…I was sitting on my bed using my ipad…I decided to check facebook…which I never really do on my ipad…I noticed Paul’s name on the side bar.  I decided to click on it, even though I knew he wasn’t really on there.  This is what popped up:

To read those words,” MISS YOU, LOVE YOU-“good night sweetheart” sing to the girls and give them a kiss for me.”  Wow!  I couldn’t believe it…I started to cry…Sophie was sitting by me on my bed…I got up to go downstairs so I could REALLY cry.  She asked me where I was going and if I was crying.  I said yep, I am crying a little because I miss daddy.  I also told her I needed to go down stairs for a few minutes.

As soon as I got down stairs, I really started to cry.  I called a couple of friends to come over and see the message…so, people would believe me…actually, I guess it was so I would believe it.  They were as amazed as me. They suggested taking a picture (that hadn’t even occurred to me).  So we did…now everyone can see the message.

I looked at the date on the message and from where it was sent.  I noticed April 19, 2010, 8:39 p.m.  I also noticed it said it was sent from the web, not from heaven!  Anyway, I couldn’t remember Paul ever sending me that message.  I wracked my brain and couldn’t think of where he would have been that he would send that message to me.  After a little digging and research, I discovered that it was the only private message he sent me on Facebook and it was when I took the girls to St. George for spring break (he wasn’t able to go with us).

This message was written to me three years ago and I don’t remember ever reading it (I probably did, I just don’t remember). I know that it was a message from Paul, for me to not only read then but to read now, to help me with my sadness. Just as the scriptures were written many years ago…we are told to read them daily because we forget what we read and we need that reassurance and knowledge that God does love us and wants to help us. Paul sent me this miracle as a reminder that he loves us and is watching over us.  I have re-read the message daily to help me cope with his loss.  I need that constant reminder that he loves me and misses me as much as I love and miss him…it is weird but you start to doubt that they still love you and miss you…I guess I feel like he will forget about me and move on…

On Monday, I went to the doctor.  Of course, my diverticulitis is back.  I go daily to my doctors office and get a shot of antibiotic for seven days.  Today, I got my fifth shot, so I am almost done.  Yeah! 

Because I have had several flare-ups my doctor has suggested I have surgery to remove part of my colon.  I meet with a surgeon on Tuesday to discuss my options.  I honestly don’t want to do surgery if I can help it.  Diverticulitis is definitely a problem that is worsened by stress…let’s see have I had stress in my life lately?

Anyway, I may try a few other things, before I do the surgery, to see if I can prevent it from happening again.  I will know more once I meet with the surgeon.  It is the same surgeon who removed Paul’s stomach…that might seem a little weird at first... he is an excellent surgeon.

On the day I went to the doctor, Hailey called me from school at about 2:15.  The first thing she asked was when I would be having surgery. I explained to her that I may not have surgery and I still needed to meet with the surgeon.  Then she said that her stomach had been hurting and she really wanted to come home.  I asked her if she felt like she could stay until school got out at 3:30.  She said no. 

When I picked Hailey up, I asked her is she was sick because she was feeling stressed.  She said yes and started to cry.  She told me that she was worried they were going to cut me open and find cancer.  She said that she was so afraid that she was going to lose me too.  I reassured her that my problem is not cancer and that I won’t die anytime soon (for my children’s sake, I hope not).  It breaks my heart that my children have to worry so much about these things now…

This morning, Sophie woke up with a big smile on her face.  She said, “Guess what mom?”  I said, “What?”  She said, “I had a dream with daddy in it.  He told me that he loved me very much!”  I asked her where he was while he talked to her.  She told me that he was hanging Christmas lights on the house.  She said, “Oh, mommy it felt like he was really here with me.”  She also said, “Isn’t it great that daddy was with us in this room last night helping me to have good dreams?”  Of course, I was so happy for her.  I told her that it is great blessing to have her daddy watching over us. 

As soon as Hailey woke up and came in to my bedroom (Sophie has been sleeping with me), Sophie told Hailey all about her dream. I am truly grateful that Sophie had that experience.  She really needed that…I hope there are more experiences like that for her and the rest of us.  Okay, I must admit, I was a little jealous that I didn’t get the same dream…I actually had a horrible dream last night. 

Getting through all the paperwork, health insurance issues, and other miscellaneous things have been quite exhausting.   I have spent hours on the phone.  Just thinking about it makes me tired.  Health insurance is definitely the worst issue…at first they told me I was going to pay $1600 a month…then they sent me something in the mail that said it would be $99 a month…then they finally called me and told me I would be paying $480 a month for six months and then the price will go up to the higher amount…they are subsidizing for the six months.  They still can’t tell me what the higher amount actually will be…somewhere around $1100-$1600 a month.

I have been calling on private insurance, which we will eventually need anyway.  Well, that has been a joke.  They won’t accept me because of my diverticulitis.  They said the only way I would be accepted is if I have the surgery…then the insurance companies will look at me in 1-2 years afterward. 

I asked about individual plans for just my children.  Because of Obamacare, the insurance companies will not do individual plans for children.  Evidently, in 2010 a law was passed that all children under the age of 19 have to be accepted for health insurance regardless of their health status.  This was not well received in the insurance industry, so they felt they needed to change their policies…I won’t go into all the details here…

Anyway, I have actually discovered a benefit for me with regards to Obamacare.  As of January 2014, Insurance companies can no longer deny people insurance due to health issues.  Everyone will be entitled to it.  I have always felt strongly that everyone should be entitled to health care…now, I just have been placed in a position where I feel even stronger about it.  Because I don’t want to get into political issues here, I will just say that I am relieved to know that we can get health insurance next year… Cobra can get very expensive!

Today I am grateful for the beautiful sunshine that we have seen for the last couple days. I am also grateful for my amazing family and friends who continue to support me with love, help, and kindness. 

I miss Paul every day.  I have felt his presence with me at times….I just wish it could be all the time!  Maybe I will get a dream like Sophie tonight!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Trying to adjust...

Paul has been gone for 10 days now…which means I am 10 days closer to seeing him again!  I am trying to keep really busy so I don’t do much thinking…but there has been a couple of days that I was not very successful…my emotions definitely got the better of me.

Paul’s funeral was amazing!  I am so grateful for all the wonderful family and friends that came to show their love and support.  What a tribute to Paul!

After Paul’s funeral service, we had hired a man to play the bagpipes at the graveside service.  He played Highland Cathedral…it was so beautiful.  We also released 6 white doves and 52 (Paul’s age) light blue balloons. I know that Paul was very pleased!

Paul had the best day he’d had in a couple of months on Valentine’s day.  It was such a good day.  I believe it was a tender mercy from God.  We got to have a last wonderful day together as a family.  By the next day he started to decline again…

Our older children came and spent a lot of time with us the last two weeks of Paul’s life.  It was nice to have visits with the grandchildren…sit around in our bedroom by Paul and talk about everything under the sun…including his funeral arrangements. I know that even when he couldn’t say much while we were talking, he was happy.  Every once in awhile he would give a thumbs up sign…or nod his head in agreement.  It was very hard for him to talk.  He was happy because his family was here with him.  His family was the most important thing to him. 

The last week of Paul’s life was so painful to watch.  He had terminal agitation…he had hallucinations, severe restlessness, anxiety, etc.  A few nights before he passed away, was the most brutal.  He kept getting up every 10 minutes and trying to get out of bed.  I would hear him and look over to find that he had ripped off his oxygen and was sitting on the chair by his bed trying to get up.  I would go over to him and he was gasping for air because he needed his oxygen to make him more comfortable.  I would get the oxygen put back on and get him back in bed…only to have it happen again about 10 minutes later.

By about 3:00 a.m., I was so exhausted I went and got Sheila to be with him while I went to get a little rest in the other room.  I was grateful to have our older girls spending the nights that week with us because I found I needed their help on a regular basis.  Paul could not be left alone at all…my sister came and stayed the weekend with us as well.  It was amazing how many of us it took to care for him.

The biggest problem at this point for me was that I was so exhausted.  I had been Paul’s primary caregiver for months now.  I was the only one trained at home to give him medications in his port and/or PICC line.  Finally the Friday before he died, we trained the girls how to do it as well.  Which turned out to be a huge blessing for me.

Another problem was that hospice had not given us adequate medications to make him comfortable.  I will not go into detail of the mistakes, but lets just say that we did not get morphine and Haldol going until the Friday before Paul died.  Those medications made a HUGE difference!!!  He was finally able to relax and just sleep.

Paul slipped in to a coma on Sunday, February 24th.  I knew that he was going to be dying very soon.  I woke up Monday, February 25th, at about 3:45 a.m.  I was listening for his breathing…I could not hear anything…I touched his chest…I could not feel any movement…I flipped on the light…I watched to see if there was any movement…there wasn’t any…I knew he was gone.  I am grateful that I awoke when I did because he must have just passed.  He still had some coloring in his face and his head and upper arms were still warm.  Had I woke up much later, he would not have had any color or warmth left.  I really feel like his spirit woke me up so that I would not wake up to his body all cold and grayish…about 30 minutes after I found him, he did not even look himself at all…he had no coloring left (very grayish) and was very cold to the touch…I think that would have traumatized me to wake up to that.

I think the hardest part of that day was when the mortuary came and got his body.  I could hear them getting him off the bed and bringing him down the stairs (I did not watch).  My friend had come over and got the girls so they would not have to see them take their daddy out of the house…that was not a memory I wanted them to have.

My heart is very happy for Paul, but very sad for me.  I could feel that he was happy to be free from all his pain.  I could feel his presence with me.  In fact, I felt his presence with me a lot last week.  Oh, how I love that man!

The night of the viewing was the first time I saw Paul since his death.  I was not sure what I would find.  In fact, I was thinking we would probably have a closed casket funeral.  He did not look anything like himself when he died.  He was so thin…somewhere in the 120 pound range (he was 6’3’’ tall).  Ultimately, I watched my husband starve to death.  He looked like he had been in a concentration camp…

As I walked into the mortuary that night, I totally lost it.  I did not want to see his body…I just wanted to run away as fast as I could…I did not want to have the image I had in my mind, on the day he died, brought back into my memory.  He did not look like Paul. 

Family came out into the foyer and told me he looked okay, so I finally went in and saw him…I really cried…but I knew it was just the tabernacle that housed his spirit…he was not there.  It still did not look like Paul to me…but at least he had some coloring (from all the make-up).  I could feel his spirit with me, which brought me great comfort!

I have my good days and my bad days.  Yesterday was definitely the worse day I have had yet.  I cannot adequately describe the sorrow you feel when you lose someone you love so much.  Your whole body aches with sorrow.  I think I was dehydrated yesterday from all the crying… I think I am getting a small glimpse of what our savior felt…

I have prayed to Heavenly Father that I won’t have to feel this sorrow…He is helping me through it, but I still have to feel it.  We are here to experience mortality.  The only way we can truly understand sorrow is to experience it.  The purpose of our earthly life is to learn things here in a mortal body…things that cannot be learned without a mortal body.

I am grateful for loving family and friends who are helping me through this difficult time.  I know that Paul is still watching out for us!