Posted in Therapy

My Miracle Mom

I apologize in advance if I am getting my facts mixed up. This is how I remember the day my mother nearly met her fate.

10 years ago today on December 31st 2003, my mom was rapidly breathing in her bedroom. I asked her if she was okay, as we were both getting ready for work. Her answer didn’t indicate that it was serious but rather she was feeling a little weak, tired and under the weather. Although, she did have to lean on me when walking down the hallway. I admit that this was a little bit unusual but I simply just had my breakfast, made sure she took cold medicine or whatever and kissed her goodbye, hoping that she had a good day at work and to drive safely. I try to not to overreact to things and to keep cool. After a few hours at my job, the phone rings at my desk. It’s my sister. She asked me if mom was ok and if I have heard from her. She called mom several times with no answer. Then I called her. Nothing. A friend of hers down the street came by to check on her. I believe it was Pam. She opened the garage door and went into the family room. My mom was just laying on the couch sleeping, still panting heavily. Pam asked her if she was okay, or something like that. I think then she drove her to work perhaps? I say this because it was revealed that at some point she was at work but resting in the lounge and not at her desk. A co-worker, Cindy, drove her home but asked if she wanted to go to Urgent Care. My mom refused. So I think my mom drove herself to work.

What I know for certain is that my sister called back and in a seriously crying tone said, “You need to come quickly to the hospital.” I tried to pull myself together. What happened? Perhaps her friend Cindy took it upon herself to take her to the ER. Something wasn’t right. I excused myself from work and drove to the hospital. I was fighting back tears and my head was spinning as if I was in a nightmare and everything was distorted. What on earth happened? The doctor indicated some kind of blood infection. Perhaps it was pneumonia. Some of the signs were there. Chest pains when she breathed deeply or coughed, shortness of breath and fatigue with muscle aches.But whats all this with the blood infection? She had red spots all over her body, almost like chicken pox. Cognitively she wasn’t making any sense really. Her memory bank was randomly mentioning things out of the clear blue in a slurred speech pattern. My sister, Jessica and I were starting to freak out. Another friend, Yvonne was there, supporting us and trying to make sense out of this. In addition, Pam and Cindy came to see my poor mom in this unusual state. In my entire life up until I was 27 years old, my mother never went to the doctor or spent any time at the ER. This was serious and sudden.

The ER staff  ran EKG tests, ultrasound tests and  Cat Scans. All we knew is that she was very sick and would be admitted to the hospital for a long time. We also found out that she had diabetes. But what was the main culprit? The answer came as a sever shock! Bacterial Meningitis!! Woa! This was a deadly problem especially for a woman at age 52, at the time. How did she contract this horrible disease? Why was my mom being contained behind a glass wall? Why did we have to wear gloves and a mask suddenly, in order to see her? WHY? Her fever was high! 106 degrees! The stiff neck, the fluid in the lungs and the red spots were all present symptoms. This became a touch and go process. Family had to be contacted. With it being New Years Eve, many people were out of town and unavailable. How can I go to sleep? What’s going to happen?

days, weeks, and 2 months of; induced coma, a ventilator down her throat, neurologists, pulmonary specialists, therapists, 100’s of friends, family (distant ones from out of state), prayers and patience; my mother made it through these incredible odds. We dealt with social workers, late night headaches and tears. I battled a soar throat and fatgue of my own with the constant talking to employees and sharing stories with my relatives. We did what we needed to do in order to let the doctors and nurses do their thing. Honestly, I don’t know how she made it alive. A nurse once told me that she is a miracle. They never saw anyone fight so hard. Her not being able to talk and full of bed soars and the 50/50 odds of survival were all speaking doom.

Laughter, smiles, jokes and prayers is what ultimately did it, for me. I prayed to the Virgin Mary to help me get through this. I called her answering machine on her cell phone just to hear her voice until that day came when she was released to go home which wasn’t until the end of February of 2004. We helped her get stronger and encouraged her to see a physical therapist. She takes medicine for the diabetes and uses a cane to walk around. She managed to even return to work, although it was for a different company because her previous employer let her go, due to cutbacks. Even though it was unfair, she still was persistant and found employment elsewhere and continued to drive herself to and from work everyday.

Life can surprise you everyday. We all manage to endure a lot of pain and when we think the world around us is shattered, life reveals to us the truth. We can survive. It’s a miracle everyday when we take that first breath. Thank you mom for pulling through and being my miracle mom. I love you and HAPPY NEW YEAR

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Posted in Uncategorized

When Do I Feel FREE or “In-The Zone?”

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This occurs when I am preoccupied where I lose track of time

When I am writing while listening

to the right sounds, rhythms and tunes

on the computer blogging and cataloging

or downloading music

essentially doing research

talking about something

that excites me and that I feel so passionate about

without skipping a beat.

 

Nights

weekends

vacation days

In Michigan at my dad’s

watching a movie

writing in my notebook

listening to

and sorting through music

long bike rides

sleeping

iPod on a train

When my boss is off work

even for a few hours

breaks

lunch

in the bathroom

at an amusement park

 

HAPPY

Posted in Therapy

What does Christmas mean….for me?

Being organized doesn’t make your life easier. Being HAPPY makes life awesome! Getting all the presents wrapped, the trees decorated, the bills paid, the food all prepared and pulling your hair out can be mighty stressful. Are we in a hurry or something? Do we really need to brag and complain? That seems to be the two main focal points of the holidays. Bragging = look at me, look what I got, I am special! Complaining = but I want it now, thats not what I asked for, I’m so bored and the ever popular “are we there yet?” Life throws us curve balls, potholes, rainy days, getting sick and the inevitable end of life. Let’s face it, accept it and move on. We all will eventually die. Our lives should focus more on gratitude. Looking around this room that I sit here now and spend this moment to type my words is a good place to start.

I have a computer. I am sitting in a comfortable chair. There are cd’s on my shelf. In this room there’s two cabinets filled with art supplies. A small pull out couch is next to me. A window with vertical blinds that allows me to see beautiful ponds and weeping willow trees. I can SEE. I am not BLIND. I can touch and feel the keyboard as I express my thoughts right now. I smell the coffee and freshly baked cookies downstairs. We have a kitchen and the supplies necessary to make food and beverages. Why should I complain about doing the dishes? Why should I complain that I am running late for work or that I have too many places to go to this weekend or too many obligations? Why? That is just futile! Complain? Let’s go ask a homeless woman that’s starving in downtown Aurora right now at the Hessed House what kinds of things she has to COMPLAIN about! Or how about that old man in a nursing home who has nobody to call or visit. What’s he complaining about? They would love to have dishes, food, a job, a place to go. It simply puts my life in perspective.

Christmas is a time, first and foremost, to celebrate the miracle of a special birth. Birth in general is a miracle. It is a continuation of Thanksgiving, really. There are amazing lights, clothing, decorations, music, movies, etc. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating. I just wish everyone would stop whining about what they DON’T have. YOU HAVE A LOT if you’re even reading this blog post right now! Be grateful that you didn’t wind up in a coma from a car accident caused by text messaging while driving. Or when kids barely even out of diapers are complaining that their life sucks because they don’t have an iPhone? Seriously? What happened to normal families with rules and obedience and joy and thankfulness and HAPPINESS?

Hug your mom and dad, Call your best friend, Make time for gratitude because once its gone……its not coming back

Take a risk, take a trip, force yourself to LAUGH! I will now share one final thought before I go.

everyone actually touches the world in a positive way. do not curse what cannot be seen. simply light a spark within your self and light the world with your own energy and you’ll know what to do and where to go

 

AMEN

 

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Posted in Therapy

What Interests Me, Excites me……Thus Making Me HAPPY

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Music (rock, jazz, indie, mellow)

Writing poetry

Going to diners

Picture collages

Collecting weird items

Movies

Movie posters

Road trips

Travel

Hanging out with friends

Neon lights

Pin ups

Stanley Kubrick

Alfred Hitchcock

David Lynch

Salvador Dali paintings

Baseball

The Avant-Garde

Black and White photographs

Disc Golf

Astronomy

Television

Coffee

Swimming

Tacos

Listening to Jazz Records

Going to Concerts

Halloween

Car Shows

Poetry Readings

Rollar Coasters

Discussing rock bands

Planning Vacations

Art

Math problems

Film studies

The behavior of people

HAPPY

Posted in Therapy

It was a HAPPY year!!!!

Went for hikes through the woods and the nearby grove

kayaking at Bass Lake, Michigan

rollar skating and falling down

spraining an ankle

Back cracks at the chiropractor

morning jogs daily

first sprint triathlon together

soothing massage chair resides upstairs

running 5k’s

Joined the gym

Awesome spin classes

helping the middle niece get over stage fright

finding her voice

Chris recited more poetry and signed more books

Now he’s writing a new book

both he and Denielle are blogging

and found ways to WRECK A JOURNAL

Zentangle art is amazing

Denny sketched a portrait of her mom and two uncles as children

A girl at work, who drew Starry Night with crayons, gave it to them as a gift

just for being her friend

they made several new friends this year

Yet also said goodbye to companions who moved away

His father’s dog, named Sparky, was laid down to rest

Kahlua, a beautiful Cocker Spaniel was also put to sleep

Her stepfather, Mark

and Grandmother Tillie

both were taken away from them

but certainly will never be forgotten

they had a fight one night in their car

but literally made a U-Turn on the road

and went out to eat

with a $10 coupon….Awesome!

Experienced a 30 days of HAPPINESS challenge

and learned to LAUGH more

and live like children

Took a Spring roadtrip together to Missouri via route 66

and visited an old friend

Chris’ Grandmother Jean turned 90 this year! WOW!

He is famous for making a new breakfast casserole

and together they have brought “nut cluster” candy making to a new level

watched a film called BUTTER

which made them laugh a lot

Saw films like “The Hobbit,” “Gravity” and “Thor” on the big screen

Went to a lot of concerts this year

Colin Hay gave a live performance for them @ Park West

Japandroids and Savages @ Metro

Lollapalooza @ Grant Park featuring Vampire Weekend, Tegan & Sara and Cat Power

Neko Case @ The Hideout

He bought many vinyl records

One time he bought a small cup of coffee at work

for fifty cents

with a CREDIT CARD???

then he found some quarters at his desk 5 minutes later

this made Chris and others laugh out loud

Isnt it ironic? Don’t ya think?

Won FREE coffee from BigBY!!!

They went to her cousin’s wedding

and reconnected with some long lost relatives

Threw a great big STAR WARS Halloween Party!

He grew a mustache for men’s cancer awareness

She celebrated 5 years and He celebrated 10 years of service at Ball Horticultural Company

Thereby earning more vacation time

So many memories

Can’t wait to have many more

Merry Christmas Everybody!!!

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Posted in Therapy

Sydney’s Crochet Time With Music

We spent time with our nieces last weekend. They helped me make my annual chocolate nut clusters. I’ll reserve another blog entry talking about that. But what I want to focus on here is my youngest niece, Sydney. She loves to play games and is a real curious 9 year old girl. My wife likes to knit and crochet as a passion and hobby. Sydney took a real interest into what she was doing one night and wanted to crochet something. So Denielle, my wife, showed her how to make a chain. An endless one. This little princess became so fascinated with it.

What made me really happy was when she asked if it was okay to play my iPod through my iJuke (mini jukebox). The music of Adele, Katy Perry and Imagine Dragons played from that powerful little stereo system. She ran into our bedroom as we were each reading a book and said to us, “Look at what I’m doing? I really like listening to the music too because it helps me stay focused.” There’s so much truth in how helpful music can be as therapy to get you through projects. I am proud to call Sydney my niece. As a music fanatic and blogger, I take pleasure in being an Uncle to her and my two other nieces; Amanda and Samantha. All three have a love for music, art, poetry, writing and games.

 

HAPPY

 

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Posted in Therapy

A Funeral Is Neeeded

Life can truly be appreciated the most

when a loss occurs.

My wife’s only living grandmother passed away

Families from separate lives come together for rituals, ceremonies, grievances, hugs, kisses, stories and tears

We have to experience sorrow and tragedy in order to find happiness again

Do I want to drive an hour away on this cloudy Monday morning?

Did my wife ask for this to happen?

No one wants these things to interfere with daily routines

I lost my Grandpa 15 years ago and I read the eulogy

It was not easy but I did it….I’m sure he looked down on me with a smile

When funerals happen, they actually create blessings

Hot showers suddenly feel so much better

Watching a comedy can be so much funnier too

Eating food at the reception after the ceremony feels good

We can catch up on old friends and family members

Listen to their stories and share fond memories

My happy place is knowing that

I am not alone

at work

at home

in life

I am blessed at a feast full of love

everywhere I go

Matters

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