Look! A New Blog!

I'll be retiring this blog and have started a new one at Sweat Home Alabama.

Aloha Means Goodbye

My father passed away July 1st at home in home hospice.  From the time I got back to Alabama he was steadily declining and then we as a family decided to move him to hospice.  We had had many discussions with him about what his wishes were and it always came back to what ever is less of a burden.  Of course we ignored that wish and decided to move him home anyway.  But it really was a 50/50 thing.  Him being in a hospital 45 miles from home or us being the primary care givers with home hospice.  Unfortunately when we made the decision to move him home the doctors didn't' think he'd be able to make the trip.  And he was also not sick enough to be enrolled in hospital hospice.  So he spent a weekend out of the Cardiac Care Unit, in a regular hospital unit, but pretty much under hospice care.  Hospice care removes all therapeutic treatments, and only focuses on comfort care (morphine).  As we suspected his condition improved and we were able to move him home.

At home he had ups and downs and the emotions of dealing with that were incredible.  We knew he was declining and while of course we wanted him to get better, we knew he would never really get better, so we wanted him to go quickly.  We knew he didn't really want to just lay there for a long time dying.  It was fine line between making him comfortable and nursing him back to health (or any little improvement in his condition).  As his caregivers we were the ones responsible for medicating him and it was very hard to give him more and more morphine because we all knew that if he had any chance of recovering he wouldn't' want pain meds (he never has).  The weekend he was in the hospital before he came home I asked him if he wanted pain meds.  He said no.  A nurse pointed out that if I asked him if he wanted us to make him comfortable, he'd probably say yes.  And of course he did.  And to make him comfortable it included more and more morphine.  We also learned that we had to stop telling him about things that would be happening.  Telling him who was coming to visit, or what we were going to get him for dinner gave him a reason to hang on, even though he said over and over, he just wanted to go quickly and get it over with.

Unfortunately that struggle amongst the family probably strung him a long a bit, but we finally all got on the same page and had a mantra we repeated to him, that everything was going to be okay, mom was going to be fine, he did a good job setting things up to take care of her.  We sat with him and told him that when he woke up (also we learned not to talk about anything we hadn't wrapped up around him...he woke up one time and was frustrated we hadn't had his silver coins appraised.  The night before we were talking about where they were when we thought he was sleeping.  And there were a couple other unfinished business things we had been discussing in front of him when we thought he was sleeping).

It really was such a struggle to draw the line and say no more feeding him his favorite foods, no more giving him sips of our beer if we had one, no more letting people just stop by to say hi to him.  And then the struggle with medicating him was great too.  It's so hard to just keep giving someone medication because the only time they are awake is because they are uncomfortable and then you give more morphine and they become incoherent and go back to sleep.  But he was comfortable when he passed away.  My mom, sister and I sat with him a lot the night before.  I was on the phone with my brother telling him that it was close.  I told my brother "dad hasn't really shut his eyes since last night at 10 and his breathing is different" and my dad closed his eyes tight then let out his last breath.

  We had a small ceremony at the Dauphin Island Veteran's Wall on the 4th of July followed by a wake at my mom's house and we will have another ceremony in Ohio over Labor Day weekend.  I think just about the whole town showed up for the wake and everyone told stories about him.

I'm now back in Hawaii for a bit to make my final packing arrangements and then will be on Dauphin Island for at least a few months.  I'm enrolled in some online classes at Tulane this fall and will move to New Orleans this winter.

Happy Father's Day

My dad's Facebook profile photo.  I get my athleticism from him.
I know this will be the last Father's Day I have with my dad still alive.  Right now he's in cardio ICU dealing with heart failure. He experienced heart failure (which surprisingly can happen many times and some people live quite long with chronic heart failure) and was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday.  He's actually much better than he was when he was admitted and there is a possibility he will stabilize enough to come out of the ICU and even go home.  A friend who is a cardiologist told me that being in cardio ICU in Mobile, AL is probably not as serious as being in cardio ICU in a major city/at a major hospital.  The larger the hospital, the better the chance the nurses on the regular floor are experienced with heart failure, but in small hospitals, it's up to the ICU nurses who have specific training.

I've gone to Bikram yoga the last four days. I spent $150 on yoga clothes so I take advantage of a week of free classes.  I'm still way more inflexible than anyone thinks possible, but I'm making progress.  The heat doesn't really bother me, there is maybe once, or twice during the class that I really feel it.  I sweat like crazy (I would say like everyone, but there is one woman that's been in the class who doesn't sweat  very much at all).  Today I became the yoga nazi.  The rules clearly state NO TALKING IN THE ROOM.  Prior to class as everyone was playing dead, the girls next to me kept chatting.  If it were only 2-3 minutes until class started I would have been okay with it, but since we still had 15 minutes until the actual class started I knew I would just be annoyed instead of relaxed. My evil glare didn't work.  Me telling them "shhhh" didn't work.  Me asking them to please be quiet didn't work.  So I told the instructor.  I just wasn't in the mood to deal today.  I still haven't been able to run (probably why I'm not in the mood to deal with things), but the achilles is healing.  After the third day of yoga it didn't hurt....anymore than the rest of my body.  It better get better soon because I have some training to do!

Moose and Springer had their annual vet checks.  Moose weighed in at 96 pounds.  He's a BIG boy.  Solid.  But big.  I tested some sedatives on him the other night (for the long car ride after the long plane ride).  This is Moose on drugs.

The only other exciting thing is that I figured out how to send sauerkraut through the mail.  I vacuum sealed the jars inside bags.  Exciting I know.  The first jar went to my dad for father's day.

I'm getting a pedicure right now.  I was really trying to work and kept finding other things to do (like pack) and my expense report is overdue so I decided to go to Starbucks.  Right next to Starbucks is the place I get pedicures.  I still plan on going to Starbucks, I'm just conserving gas by knocking out another errand at the same time.  I really liked this color...not so sure about the name though.

Nice broken computer screen.  
Uhm.  Who names a color that?  I picked it up three times to make sure I was reading it correctly!
I'm 2/3 through my todo list today.  And exhausted.  Moose defended me from an invading gecko last night.  Barked and howled for about an hour between 1-2AM.  My neighbor yelled over to ask if everything was alright.  Trying to catch a gecko is hard (both he and I tried for about an hour last night).  Finally the little guy scurried into the closet.  I don't mind them, and neither does Moose really, but I guess as night when Moose is trying to sleep the little gecko was too much for the pup.  And this is him this morning.  Not wanting to get out of bed.

He's a bit of a drama queen/bed hog in the morning.
Two weeks until I leave Hawaii.  I was starting to regret the decision to stay longer because my dad has had a few setbacks and my brother left so it's just my sister and my mom helping my dad, but I'm not going to dwell on it and today he was able to get himself out of bed and make his own breakfast.  On Monday he went in for a chemo consult and the oncologist sent him directly to the ER to be evaluated for blood clots.  Turns out he just has bronchitis and is recovering from that.  He resisted having a hospital bed delivered until we convinced him it would allow him to have more independence...not have to rely on us to help him up and down.  He's still not using the bed except at night, but he is using the recliner we got him to keep his feet elevated...and wouldn't use before because he didn't want to.  #smallvictories

There's not much else to report.  I didn't race on Saturday because Moose turned off the alarm when he got nosy at 2AM.  My achilles is probably better for it.  Tonight I'm going to yoga.  It's been a couple years since I've done yoga.  I doubt I'll be able to move tomorrow.

National Donut Day!

It's National Donut Day and I celebrated by eating sauerkraut.  And then this happened.

You didn't expect me to celebrate National Running Day and not celebrate National Donut Day.  In a few weeks I won't get super excited every time I see Krispy Kremes.  I'll be in the land of Krispy Kreme...in Alabama every day is National Donut Day (31.2% obese +  35.3% just overweight...second only to Mississippi). But until then, when I see Krispy Kremes I'll stop-especially if it's National Donut Day. I also ran today.  So it all evened out.  I was planning on swimming until this happened.

I thought I had another pair of goggles.  No luck. All workout clothes/gear but the bare minimum were shipped last week and I didn't make it to buy new goggles before the pool closed, but I had to go buy new goggles.  I'm doing a triathlon tomorrow.

About a week ago I realized that my first triathlon in Hawaii was the North Shore Tri.  So why not make it my last (though I hope Kona 2014 in my future).  The North Shore Tri has always been one of my favorite tris (despite the long beach run from the swim to transition).  I might end up walking most of the run and I haven't been on the bike since I realized just how jacked up my achilles was (when it REALLY hurt to bike I realized how jacked up it was).  I'm probably being dumb by racing at all but I really want to so I will.

I also made what will likely be my last batch of sauerkraut in Hawaii.  It's become somewhat of a joke that I take sauerkraut to all cookouts, potlucks and dinner parties...but it's the first thing that disappears at parties...even before the guacamole and chips.  Because I'm delaying my departure for two weeks, my friends have told me that every party they have will also be a going away, as long as I bring sauerkraut.  Today we drank beer and I taught a friend how to make kraut.  This batch should be ready right after I leave.