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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gorgeous Day Blue Skies Clear Cool Air..:)

Such a gorgeous day!....It's as if Mother Earth washed her hair and shook the earth clean. So cool, clear and sunny...love it. Hurricane Irene really did a number on the East coast of the states...everyone is now busy picking up the pieces.

Here, in Howard Beach, flooding did occur - it was just luck or whatnot whether your street flooded or not. Trees came down, people lost power...major thing Crossbay Blvd on one side there is a deep water inlet that leads into Jamaica Bay...the whole thing overflowed for blocks and blocks. All the stores got water into them, they mostly lost power...you could see from the different video's that people took the cars had water up to their windows..
That was at high tide on Sunday around 9 am when the eye hit us...the night before the winds were howling like a deranged Banshee in the mountains. Alisa, mama lioness that she is, stayed up all night on Saturday protecting her flock....worried about the tornado warnings that were posted all night. She was exhausted....trying to entertain the kids so they wouldn't be frightened...this was the first major hurricane they have ever experienced it was unnerving for them. John had made all kinds of preparations for the storm..he put everything in their yard away, harvested his plants...and just made everyone feel safe.
Alisa had tried to get extra candles etc...but everything was sold out...so I made some old fashioned oil lamps....using paper salt wicks, olive oil, my "stones", silver wire to hold the wick and raise it, and several "ball" canning jars.....so Alisa is calling me "McGruber"!! Hey, if there is a way to do it....it can be done.....
On a side note....I am feeling much better, finally got the supplies I needed to do the glucose testing, am learning how to do the insulin shot...each day I am losing more weight....down seven lbs already...am still swollen from the steroids, still on the step down process...surely but slowly. The visiting nurse suggested that I delay flying home till the meds are out of my system....they cause my feet and legs to swell and that is not good to fly with. Luckily, I had taken out flight insurance so I should be able to move my ticket without extra cost.
Yesterday was marvelous...Alisa had taken a vacation day..so she took her four daughters, myself and her neighbors daughter to get haircuts & manicures.....to a place in Brooklyn, the woman's name is Wu...very nice..had my hair cut, permed and colored.....so now I am a curly top! It felt wonderful...with so many it took almost five hours of non=stop beauty treatments lol.....such a day.....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lord What A Difference A Day Makes....

Going to write in blue...cause that's my mood right now. Everything was going along pretty good, having fun with the kids...painting, drawing and jewelry making. Next up I planned to teach them how to crochet and knit....
Last Friday threw me for a loop, I felt a sinus infection coming on last Tuesday, so I had some antibiotics with me, started on them..and watched myself but by Friday morning I was in real distress with my breathing due to the COPD.
It scared Alisa so we went to Mercy Hospital ER and they admitted me right away...I was one step away from pneumonia, which in my case could be the death of me.
Spent the next five days, poked, prodded and pinned...yuck. Got released last night thank God....on the mend. Hell of way to spend a week of vacation this way. Now trying to build back up where I can get off oxygen or I can't fly home easy....also the steroids they had to put me on spiked my blood sugar to 368...bouncing all over the chart for days, I'm on a step down process now...but it's going to take ten days to come off the steroids. So, now I have to be full insulin injections too. Can't catch a break.
In the hospital they put me on a restricted diet, 1200 calories a day...no salt, no chol, no sugar...or sweets. Now when I first felt sick I ate only chicken noodle soup, crackers since last Tuesday...and with the diet restrictions in the hospital...eight days and my weight dropped 1/2 lbs.....sucks to be me. Of course, it's probably the steroids holding water and stuff in....but it would of been nice to see the gauge go down on the scale.
Then, of course, I hadn't had my computer so I missed the Jland Anniversary thing on Sunday....got a lot of catch up reading to do....crap this week better get betterer.....:(

Monday, July 25, 2011

You Can't Go Home Again.....

I thought it might be fun to type in melon..lol...it's kind of a melon day. Alisa & John are both back at work now after a whirlwind vacation. I know the kids loved having the two of them available to them full time...what kid wouldn't?

My grand babies have grown so much..and they are all sooo smart. Brittany has won honors in school and a scholarship to St Francis Prep, a really great school.Top that off with how beautiful she is, she is one great kid. Sabrina is an extraordinarily helpful eleven year old, you almost never have to ask her twice to help out, she's following in her Mom's footsteps learning how to cook from the master chef...and she does pretty good. I look at her and I see her Mom so much it takes me back years. The twins are a hoot....two totally different personalities yet so much alike in appearances. Ashley is outgoing and gregarious, yet does not like to be kissed or hugged too much (wipes the kisses off as I did oh so many years ago lol) Sophia is shyer, not that she's quiet - she can give as good as she gets when playing. I think her feelings get hurt easier than her twin. Both are so gorgeous....I think as these girls grow John will need a baseball bat to keep the boys away......John and Alisa have done a wonderful job raising these girls..they should be very proud.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New York, New York

Oh I am counting the days till I board a Jet Blue jet and jet away, jet away..lol...always want to say fly away, fly away. I have not been up there for a little over two years and I've missed so much of the little ones growing up. My eldest grand daughter is now 13 and ready for high school! It just seems like yesterday she was a new baby in a bassinet, all newborn pink and squeezable cute.

The twins are just seven and really smart...Sabrina the middle child is a hoot, she never fails to IM me and she is very excited about Grandma Sandi coming back up there. I do expect to spoil them, after all it is my right...lol.....

I am going to bring up all my jewelry making supplies and work with the girls making things I think they will like it.

I also found a cookbook that has some adorable recipes made simple so kids can participate in the process.

I"m also bringing my art supplies up, all of the girls love to draw and paint so we can have watercolor/acrylic classes and I think we will have a tremendous amount of fun for the summer.

It will be a much needed change from the past seven months of trying to help my sister & her husband with his fight against mouth cancer. I think I just need to be around young people for a while, perhaps it will be a soothing balm for my soul....sometimes children's laughter is all you need to feel young again....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Anniversary

A blue day, write it in blue....Anniversaries are supposed to be happy but this one is not. Joe & I would of been married thirty=two years today, and I look back and it seems to have happened only yesterday. I can still feel the jitters as I stood at the front of the altar, holding his hand...trying to place the wedding ring on his finger as he had placed it on mine. I was shaking so much, no reason for it either...probably lack of sleep, stress and not too sure of the future.

We had good times, bad times and some times that were just that mellow fall in line everything is fine times. We didn't fight often, but when we did it was sort of a stand off...he would bellow and I would bluster...but in the end we never went to bed mad. The minister that married us told each of us that we would at times feel that we were giving 95% and the other person only 5%....it was so true.

I need to write some of his stories down before I forget them, Joe was part Irish but with such a gift of gab you would think he really kissed the blarney stone....I often accused him of doing just that!

I miss him.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lazy Sunday


Eventually I do want to get back into drawing and painting. It is so relaxing to do, even if you are not highly talented....it soothes the soul.

I love this little fairy painting and would love to copy this style, my sister Charlene purchased a book on how to paint fairies...that should help.

Of course, I can't really get into anything I want to do until I can get back to my own house.

We still have a way to go with Larry. He finished chemo/radiation about a week and a half ago and actually the after symptoms are worse that anytime during the seven weeks he was undergoing the treatments. He finally caved and asked for pain medication...but as Charlene had told him he waited too long for the morphine to work right. Evidently when the pain level is lower is the right time to start not when it's at it's max. So he had to get another type something that is in a time released patch, he can wear each patch for three days. It seems to be helping him at least take the edge off of it without making him loopy.

What made everything so much worse was that he developed mouth ulcers on his tongue and gums...making it impossible to eat anything except a liquid drink like Ensure. He has lost additional weight bringing him to 220 lbs, it was a good thing that he was overweight. They had him come in this Saturday and Sunday to do a Potassium drip just to boost his fluids a bit. I keep on hoping that he will wake up and be out of pain and able to eat....:(

Well, I am excited for this coming week, I get to see my baby boy...Joey will be flying in from Portland, picking up "Big Red" and his two friends then driving back to Portland. It is an exciting trip that he has planned, they will leave St Pete on the 19th of March, stop in New Orleans for one night, then drive to Austin, Texas to visit a friend, then up to the lower part of Arizona and the Grand Canyon with it's fantastic views. From there I am not sure whether he planned to follow the coast up to Portland or take an inland route. It's a quick trip, just a smile & wave at Mom :(....but I will take anything that's thrown at me right now...:) So I told him to take a lot of photographs....

Then in the beginning of April, actually the 7th, we have a dear friend coming in from Arizona with her boyfriend who we haven't seen in 24 years, and our sister Charlene is coming in for two days with her grand-daughter Liz (she is treating Liz to 5 days of Disney, then coming here)...and they all arrive the same day Laura's 22nd Birthday!...busy, busy....





Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Days Moving Slowly


Maybe if I write in red things will move faster...lol...I guess not! I feel as though I have traveled through the rabbit hole, falling into a deep, dark abyss except I am not following any dam white rabbit!

Alice In Wonderland I am NOT! I guess it's just the mental state I am in right now....the last two years have been exceptionally rough, physically and mentally. If all this crap makes you stronger I should be coming out of it like tungsten steel..lol. Hey, my first husband sold steel, some of his customers were West Bend and Werner Aluminum Ladder Company...in fact the owner of Werner (Leo Werner) came to our wedding in Japan. Oh, so many years ago.

When Tom & I moved back to the states and bought our first house in New York, Leo surprised us with a delivery of every type of ladder you could imagine that you would need to work on a house...little ones for indoors, larger ones for painting and huge ones for working on a three story house! Leo was one of the nicest millionaires that I ever met in my life. When he opened the new plant in Ohio Tom & I visited for the opening ceremonies, it was a beautiful building. Later we met his wife at his house and viewed his huge, huge bottle collection..it was awesome.

Sometimes I wonder if I look at possessions the same way as others do. One by one, down the through the years the ladders disappeared. Either lost in a move, forgotten in the packing, until almost forty years later there was only one left. It was my favorite ladder too, it was the one that I stood on to hang curtain rods, to paint & wallpaper my babies rooms, the kitchen, living room. The ladder was ugly to look at by this point, with bits & pieces of paint flecks and other more insidious droppings of Spackle, etc. But it was my favorite, easy to fold and carry, and lightweight enough for me.

However, at this point I was married to my Joe and he was a carpenter. That being said he loved tools, big tools, little tools and my dam little ladder. So it was on a sad day about three years ago...I lost my last, favorite little ladder...he left it on a job only to return the next day to find it gone. So Joe went out and bought me a new version of the Werner Aluminum Ladder.....it paled in comparsion to my little ladder. But I accepted the offer and it now sits locked inside my shed...keeping Joe's fold-any=which-way ladder company!

Funny how one word - steel - can take you back.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fighting A Battle

Today is chemo treatment #2 for Larry - this morning it was radiation as usual he is in his fourth week of radiation for throat cancer. His prognosis is good..they give him an 80% cure rate. It is an uphill battle to keep his weight up, so far the radiation doctor is happy with his weight, Larry wants to avoid having a feeding tube placed at all costs, doesn't want it.

It is actually a good think that Larry was overweight to begin with. He started this whole cancer trip at about 260 lbs....today he weighed in at 232 lbs. The radiation/chemo treatments are rough on your system, the fact that the tumor is at the back of his tongue doesn't help with the eating/swallowing factor.

Larry is kind of a straight up guy, made hardened by the mean streets of New :York...he calls it as he sees it. Refuses pain meds, even after having to have his teeth removed in order to avoid major problems from the radiation. I guess if the pain gets really bad he will cave - maybe.

Anyway, Monday to Friday for seven weeks...radiation therapy and on the 45th day the last round of chemo.


we all are on edge trying to do our best to keep his morale up, feed him well...and keep him alive. I feel at least Barb has a chance at saving her hubby, I didn't get a chance....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sent to Mary Focarino Gallagher

Written by Joe Doscher as a thank you to Mary & Coleen...

I left it the way he wrote..in his own way, his way of talking.....


‎"year's ago i met a lady,a person of brightness.she alway's looked for the silver lining.time's would be bad or worse,but she would still smile like a candle on the darkess night.proud to stand with her.we have had our time's.good bad terr...ible and great.three did we raise,three that i am proud to call our's.our daugter while growing up,alway's had her friend's over.show up anytime,stay all the time,sleep over.they would drive me out of my mind.never knew who would be in the house.morning would be a trip,really steping over them,because they stayed up alnight watching t.v..my lady would only smile at my complaint's,who ate my lunch ,who's pant's are these,what happen too the cookie's,what do you mean i have to pick them up.drove me crazy.smile she would and a small laugh,my lady would say they are here,they are good what more could we ask. 20+year's have gone bye,while vist'ing our daughter suffer'ed heart failure.these pain in the ass,rotten,loud ,annoying,girl fiend's where there.ladie's of brightness they had become.long drive from picking me up at the airport,not a short trip,a hard hug and a tear,a small smile of hope.stood tall they did.helping,in every way.with them there i knew my daughter was in good hand's.the comfort they gave just by being there. thank you colleen and mary may you have children who have friend's like you. thank you" Joe

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Difficult Days

I guess I have been pretty lucky finding myself well insulated from experiencing the death of close relatives. Oh, of course, I lost my beloved Grandparents on each side when I was in my thirties. Even then, because of the longevity in our family they had lived well beyond the norm. Right now my Dad is 94 and my Mom is 90...and actually pretty healthy living at home with my sister and BIL.

My beloved Joe died in June, 2010 - my cousin Millie just passed a few days ago, my second cousin Evelyn died last month, we are fighting for my BIL Larry life as I write this, my other cousin in Washington Tina is doing the same for her husband Fernando...I pray to God that a total cure for all cancer could be found and please God now.

Life started on a downturn with my getting pneumonia when I flew up to New York in December 2008......Of course, I don't remember anything but they tell me I died and had to be coded 6 times before my heart would return to normal. Everything else had shut down too, so I had to undergo blood transfusions, and also dialysis every other day for weeks. My kidneys never did recover completely...they only process at 2/3 the rate they should, so I have to be careful what I eat, drink and do. I also suffered heart problems too so they put me in the cardiac unit to be watch...I was hooked up to so many lines that I could not move too much - the only things on my body that I had control over were my feet and ankles...so I kept moving them up and down and sideways. I was in intensive care for over a week, mostly unconscious and the doctors kept telling my family that I most probably would not come out of it because I had been oxygen deprived for so long.

The first vivid memory that I have is opening my eyes to see my lovely daughter Alisa..saying "Mom, Mom..Mom's awake!" to all the others in the room...she ten put her hand up in front of my face and asked how many fingers do I have up? I answered her...then her next question was "Mom...do you believe in Vampires"...I know I shook my head yes...Alisa started yelling..."Mom's Back! Mom's Back!".....oh, but what a road was yet to come....

Poor Joe never left my side, he had to be pulled away to go home to take a shower, eat.....he massaged my feet, my back, rubbed what he could on my arms trying to keep my circulation going....it helped. They had really done a number on me with all the lines put in and had actually blown a hole in the top of my hand - my arms and hand were like huge balloons and extremely hot. Alisa had brought in some heavy hand towels so we soaked them in cool water and applied them to my hands and arms...I did this repeatedly...it helped so much I was able to reduce the swelling a lot.

I had also caused damage to myself when I awoke in the ICU with the breathing tube still in...in my delirium I thought I was drowning and some alien was trying to get down my throat...so I reached up and yanked the tube out...not a good thing to do. I hurt my throat so that for almost a month I had to use ice chips to soothe it...as a result I now have a soft growth right where I did the damage by my thyroid.

I was in that hospital bed for over 35 days and they only got me to sit up two times, as a result I lost most of my muscle mass so I could not stand or sit up or walk on my own. I felt like a newborn baby. They decided I was well enough to be transferred to a rehab place...well, the place was actually horrible...it was dead of winter arrived by ambulance cold and tired. The attendants there insisted as soon as they got my coat off that I should strip for a shower...I told them I was freezing could they wait till I felt a little warmer? The answer was NO! So the two of them bullied me into the shower in a special wheelchair, started the water - it was not even warm.....that's the last thing I remember...I evidently passed out, scared the crap out of them...they had to get the paramedic's back in and I was transferred to a lovely Catholic hospital...again ICU. Turns out I was coming down with another bout of pneumonia...oh all through this I have been on oxygen too.

The doctors at this hospital were wonderful, they had me diagnosed with COPD within two days, and cured of the pneumonia in eight days. They also, even with all the lines in, had the nurses get me out of bed into a chair and a side potty...the joy of even sitting up is unexplainable unless you have been paralyzed you would not know..

The only scary part was my hand were still bad, it was difficult for me to use a fork or knife...one day trying to do it I dislodged a main line that was into an artery....I kept pressure on it but could not reach the button to call for help..so I lay there screaming for help...luckily a man was visiting next door and went for help for me....I had visions of bleeding out in the bed....still scares me now. The nurses were able to control it and I got yelled at for it...but the shunt wasn't put in properly I think. In the first hospital, my youngest son Joey came every day to feed me and he would stay till dinner time and he did this for thirty day, bless his heart such a good son. My daughter Alisa came and brought me special foods that she thought would help me heal better...nothing tasted better than her Italian Wedding Soup!

After I healed a bit, they wanted to send me back to that awful place where I passed out...I absolutely refused to go there. I felt the attendants should have at least listened to me instead of rushing me into a cold shower. Thankfully my daughter found a wonderful Jewish Nursing Home on Long Island...it was old but comfortable and clean. The nursing staff and attendants were loving, caring people and I cannot say enough for the rehab staff. I arrived (with daughter following me this time) late one night and they took their time to get me settled into the room. Yes, I did need a shower but the attendant asked me if I was up to it, did I feel alright? And the water was warm/hot makes such a difference. All I can say is I arrived there unable to sit up or turn over...and three days later they had me up in a wheelchair do strengthening exercises with the rehab staff.

I arrived there on February 4th and was determined to be back home at my daughters by her birthday on March 9th. It was an uphill battle but I was able to walk, using a walker, out of the nursing home on March 6th..in time for her birthday....it was great to start to feel a bit normal again.

I had some strange experiences in the hospital and the nursing home...In the hospital the first roommate that I had came from Clearwater Florida just above where I had been living. The nurse came from a section on 49th street in Pinellas Park just a hop-skip from where I lived. Then when I got to the nursing home...there was an elderly lady in the bed next to me, she had dementia. The next day a middle aged couple came in to visit her and they looked vaguely familiar to me. They introduced themselves and said they came from Richmond Hill, I said that's where I was from before moving to Florida...110th St...they looked at each other and said...we live on 110th St off of 109 Ave....turns out they lived three doors from me..their daughter was our newsboy..the man was the guy who used to put all the block parties on...so of course they looked familiar! For some reason the elderly woman could talk to me, she remembered her daughters name and told me stories from years ago. It was around Valentines day so I asked Alisa to bring a stuffed bear for her...she had nothing in her bed to amuse her or to hold on to. The bear worked like a charm, she would sing to it like it was a baby and it calmed her down too. She had fallen at home and broken her hip, she was recuperating but her daughter was afraid that she could not be on her own at all anymore...both of them had to work..before the fall they had hired a sitter to come in for part of the day and look after her...but her condition was getting a lot worse. But I thought what a strange thing to happen...I move away from a place for 24 years only to find myself in a room with an ex neighbor - where does that happen? I felt comforted in that I was able to make this lady's life a little more happy....

This has been a rambling entry - sorry folks...but life sometimes just rambles....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Been A While....


I don't have too many pictures of Joe on line...this one is rough he had been working in the front yard and was all "grizzled" as he liked to say. I have a bunch of good photo's that I have to burn to a disc...I bought the machine to transfer them just have not found the time as yet to do it. TIME...where does it go? I thought I had all the time in the world with him, we had planned so many things to do....day trips around Florida to sites we had not seen, we were going to head up to Norfolk, Virginia so I could visit my Aunt and put flowers on my Grandparents grave...on the way we planned to visit Joe's sister Jean in Georgia. We spoke about relocating out west in either Oregon or Washington State...we both missed the sight of mountains, valleys and heavily treed forests. It would also put us closer to where our youngest son is now living.....

Instead death came creeping quietly in on a normal Wednesday morn to steal my love away....suddenly, in his sleep.

My Joe was sort of my rock, he could fix things and problems too. Of course, we had in our relationship, big problems that were beyond both of us to fix...I am speaking about physical things, like the roof collapsing, the damage to the underlying structure was too severe to fix. Should never of bought a house built out of wood in Florida....and even when you check for termites doesn't mean a thing...cause a month later they can swarm in again.

We survived it....but the house is probably what made me sick to begin with and I think it played a huge part in Joe's death too. As much as he loved the property and all his plants he hated that house...I think because it bested him.

When I first came back to Florida I could not live in the house because of the mold so I stayed at my sisters & parents house for about six months...until we were able to purchase a mobile home in a quiet park in Saint Petersburg. It was an older model, but it had a screen porch, covered carport and extra large walk in shed on the pad too. It also had two bedrooms, kitchen, living room, bathroom and plenty of large closets. So it was ideal for the two of us. Joe had lost a lot of weight during the full year that I was not with him, I felt so guilty about this...even though I made care packages for him at my sisters.

At first, Joe seemed to perk up a bit being back together and all...he added a bit of weight - but about three months into the new year (2010) he started complaining about food bothering his stomach, couldn't stand the smell of my cooking with any spices...and he cut back on what he ate. I tried to get him to go to a doctor and he refused, saying it's just simple indigestion. It wasn't.

Because of my near death experience Joe & I often spoke about death...I came out of it not so afraid of death anymore. He accepted that and also believed in an afterlife. He absolutely knew he would see his Ma & Pa, Mom & Dad and brothers again. He kept telling me that he would feel like he was "going home" and also that Doscher's check out fast, they don't hang around once the gong has sounded....and that's exactly what he did.....