Sunday, September 21, 2008

September already? OMG!

It's past the middle of September! When I realized how long it's been since my last blog entry, I was a little stunned. But then, a lot has been happening. My original intent was to blog right after I got back from Florida on Aug 14, but you know what they say about the best laid plans, etc.

As I say, I returned from a wonderful visit in Florida with my daugher and SIL, and was all set to unpack on Friday and get with it, loading the pictures, blogging and catching up on email. Instead, this is what happened: Friday morning Aug 15 my 94 year old Mom called me at 8 am and said "I need you to come over as soon as you can. Something is wrong." I threw on my clothes, grabbed a cup of tea to take along and took off for her apartment at the Assisted Living center where she lives, about 5 miles from me. When I got there I saw the problem was with her left knee, which was swollen, warm and very painful. I tried to make her more comfortable and called her doctor's office (the ortho who had done the knee replacement on this leg 12 yrs ago.) They said they couldn't get her in until Monday, but if it got worse, to take her to the ER. It got worse, and around 4 pm I called 911, since by then she couldn't even stand up to get into a wheelchair.

What happened next I'm going to gloss over. After 8 days in the hospital and still no definitive diagnosis (Drs. couldn't decide between septic joint and pseudogout), she was discharged to a skilled nursing facility for rehab. The knee had improved quite a bit, but she was very weak after 8 days flat on her back. She stayed at the nursing home for almost 3 weeks, and during that time I nearly tore my hair out. Without going into details, let's just say her care, particularly in the evening and at night, was less than safe and adequate. Her physical and occupational therapists were terrific and had her on her feet and getting stronger all the time, when I finally decided I couldn't take it any more and had her discharged to my home. She stayed with me for a week, continuing home health PT and nursing visits. This past Thursday I took her back to her apartment, and I don't know who was happier, me, her or her two cats. I guess it's a case of all's well that ends well. PT and nursing are still following her and will for several weeks. It was a scarey time, and even though it was only a little over five weeks, I was totally exhausted by the time I got back from taking her home and getting her unpacked, etc. Anyone who cares for an elderly, infirm person in their home for an extended time must have stars in their crowns, so to speak. I don't know how much longer I could have kept on. But for now, it's good.

Back to Florida! I got to the airport in Fort Walton Beach the afternoon of Aug 5 and my SIL picked me up there. This turned out to be one of the best visits down there I've ever had. We did so much and I took lots of pictures, so here goes:

This is the view down Kim and Ron's driveway from the side of the house looking toward the road, or in other words, their "front yard". From left to right are Dusty (Mama), Baby Penelope (who is nearly hidden behind Dusty), nameless horse, and Wishbone. Also various chickens managed to get into the frame.

The part of Florida where they live, the central Panhandle, is very lush but not sub-tropical--no native palm trees.

The nameless horse isn't really nameless. I just can't recall her name. Kim was pasturing her temporarily for a friend, who came and got her a day or so after I got there.

This is Mama Dusty and Baby Penelope. If I were any kind of grandparent, I'd know exactly how old she was when I took this, but I don't. She was born in early June and this was taken in early August, so can't be more than a couple of months. They grow fast, these little guys.

This is Wishbone, a gelding Kim has had for a little over two years. When I was down in FL 2 years ago, he was a colt just a little older than Penelope and extremely frisky. I was actually afraid of him! I was worried he'd push me and knock me down, because he was so exuberant. This visit, I found him to be a big cuddle bunny! He loved to nuzzle my neck, and have me scratch behind his ears, stroke his mane, and talk to him. Kim says he's very gentle to ride, as is Dusty, so both of them are good role models for Penelope.

Kim on Wishbone. I'm glad to know she always wears her helmet when she rides, be it horse or motorscooter or bike.

This is Scotty, Kim's Sheltie pup, who is about 9 months old. He's about as big as he's going to get, but still all big feet and clumsy playfulness. He's very sweet.

This is Valentine, a Great Pyrennes, about a year old. She will get bigger! Yikes! There's not much to compare to her size in the picture except perhaps the door behind her, which is a standard door width. She's extremely gentle and being a guard dog by nature, she will not leave the property. She knows where the boundaries are and stays inside them. She thinks she's a lap dog, and to get attention will place her extremely large paw on your lap. It's nearly impossible to ignore her! But she justs wants lovin'.

This is Daisy, Kim's beloved Aussie Shepherd. Daisy is a "Mommie's girl" and whines if Kim is out of her sight. Kim takes Daisy nearly everywhere with her, and the dog is quite an athlete. She has run races with Kim and won prizes for dress up contests. She even has her own life jacket (see below.

Girls just wanna have fun!

This is Daisy on the pontoon boat we rented to cruise around in the bay. What fun!

This is Kim's Buttercup (as opposed to my Buttercup, who is a cat!). I have to admit this one had the name first, but when a cat tells you what her name is, how can you argue with that?

Buttercup is a mixed breed, and the vet says she has a lot of greyhound in her. It's easier to see when she's standing up, since she has the high haunches, and lean belly. This Buttercup is very skittish around most people other than Kim. She finally has allowed me to pet her, after many years of my visiting down there. She particularly doesn't like men, and won't even let Ron pet her. We figure she was abused as a young dog, and she went through three or four adoptions before Kim took her. People kept adopting her and then bringing her back because all she would do is cower in a corner. Now she seems reasonably well adjusted, and claims this spot in the corner of the livingroom

This is Pixie, the Pembrooke Corgi Kim and Ron have had for quite a while. It's not so obvious in this picture, but Pixie has, ahem, a weight problem, as in her belly nearly drags the floor! She is on diet dog food, but is adept at sneaking from the others' bowls. She's a sweetheart, and is one of the two, the other being Daisy, who visit me every Christmas. Madison loves his "cousins".

Last but certainly not least is Snoopy, their Siamese cat. Snoopy is about 17 years old as near as we can recall. He's still active and very vocal and loves his Grandma! He sleeps with me whenever I visit.

With Kim and Ron having 5 dogs and one cat, and my having 5 cats and one dogs, we have 6 of each between us! Some kind of symmetry there, I suppose!

This post is getting long so I'm going to finish another day, hopefully tomorrow, when I will talk about kite surfing, Kim and Ron's swing band, and other fun things.

Look at this face! What a doll baby! But she's a sassy little girl, and tries to get away with biting if she can. Kim is teaching her not to bite and to be led on a halter. She basically walks around dragging the halter for now and will learn to be led soon. She won't be able to be ridden until she's two years old, but if Kim keeps working with her as she is now, Penelope will be a star by then!