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A Very Sad Day…

My Mom died early Thursday morning. Her heart was weakened by the neglect of her congestive heart failure by her ‘doctor’ and it was just too tired to survive the covid she caught at the nursing home. It’s been a busy 36 hours or so, making decisions and signing papers – so. many. papers! Belinda and Stefan came up Thursday and have been a great distraction for Ella. Mom wanted to be cremated. So that’s what we are doing. We’ll wait until spring (hopefully we will be allowed a reasonable number of guests) and bury her in Bowmanville beside my Grandpa.

I want to start with my thanks for everyone who is still here. I also need to appologize to my friends on here with whom I usually send emails too. Especially Elizabeth, I just realized I missed your Christmas and everything going on in your life and I’m really sorry for that.

My world has fallen apart and thing don’t look like they are ever going to get better. The start of the story is here, in case you forgot. Mom got sent back to the hospital. At first the ER doctor thought it was pneumonia. Turns out it’s was just the congestion from the heart failure. The good news was the hospital admitted her again. In fact, most of the nurses up on the floor couldn’t believe she was even released in the first place (we never did find out who authorized the discharge). So back in hospital for an unknown time. More good news, her shoulder was NEVER broken. Apparently this is a problem with being at a teaching hospital. The orthopedic surgeon let his students look at Mom’s xray. THEY were sure it was broken, so he let them run with that. Since Mom had absolutely NO PAIN he finally looked at the xray and realized it was fine. To be fair to the doctor, he came in person to appologize to Mom for the mistake. That certainly made Mom’s mobility improve.

Lots more diuretics and she was down 60ish pounds. Mom finally improved enough that there was talk about sending her down to the rehab floor. We really thought things were going well and life would go on, more or less, as they did before.

Forgot to mention, Mom had been having really weird dreams and some rather odd waking thoughts. The hospital had her on some sleeping pills, something she’s never had before. I suggested they cut the dose and they did and that seemed to fix the problem, or so we thought.

OK, now Mom’s in rehab. She’s loving the physio guys and working really hard to get back home. Weight is continuing to drop off. She ended up loosing close to 90 lbs of fluid!!!

August 17, Mom sent home!! We were promised physio visits and lots of at home support. I made a bunch of ‘tv’ dinners to put in the freezer so she wouldn’t have to do any cooking. I also had the house cleaned to make it liveable (apparently Mom had turned into a bit of a hoarder and had Ella sworn to secrecy). Mom was not doing well. She kept calling and I had to go over every other day. No help ever arrived. I would never have let her come home if I had known she wouldn’t get the support promised. She also, still wasn’t herself from time to time. I’d get some rather odd phonecalls.

September 10, I took Mom in for her cataract surgery. We then drove her down to Kaladahar to meet up with my BIL. Belinda and Stefan were keeping Mom for a week post-surgery. Cataract surgery requires lots of eye drops for a week and Mom couldn’t do those herself. It was a nice to have a break and not have to worry about Mom. Given everything that was going on, it was obvious Mom couldn’t stay at home. We found a retirement apartment/room for her at Country Haven in Beachburg. It was perfect, a private room with a shared bathroom within her price range. It took a lot of convinvincing. Mom really thought she could manage by herself.

September 20 we moved Mom into Country Haven. She was able to take a lot of her things from home. She made her room look very cozy. This should have been a really good step and it looked like it would be, at first. She was making friends with her neighbours, especially Robert. We went out a few times for groceries and just a drive. She really seemed to be accepting the new normal and she seemed to enjoy most of the people.

On the surface, things looked good. But I was still getting bizarre phone calls and when we were out she’d say things. It was like dementia had started overnight. There was none of this before the fall. Her personality was changing, and not for the better.

November 5, Mom had her other cataract surgery. Belinda and Stefan too her home again for a week of rest and eye drops. Mom never called the entire time she was down there. Not even to talk with Ella. Even now, she only calls when she wants me to go and fetch her something.

Mom’s walking continued to get worse. She shuffles and barely lifts her feet. She’s lost over 100 lbs now. She’s not acting like herself and barely even looks like herself. Every time I see her, it looks like she hasn’t brushed her hair for days. She’s all disheveled. Mom would never look like this.

Christmas day I get a phone call from one of the nurses. She really wants to send Mom to the hospital, but she’s refusing. The nurse said she was delirious. I seriously thought Mom was going to die that day. Boxing day they finally convinced Mom to go to the hospital. Turns out it was a UTI and apparently delirium is a very common symptom. They sent her back that evening (well, we had to go get her because the patient transfer don’t work weekend evenings).

On top of all this we were very busy trying to get Mom’s house sorted, cleaned out, and cleaned up. So. much. stuff!! Colin lost track of how many trips to the dump he took. I sold a few things and donated a few things, but so much went to the dump because I am just so emotionally exhausted dealing with everything. Belinda and Stefan tried to help, but there’s only so much they can do from Pickering. My cousin lives in Renfrew now, and he’s been such a help too.

I stopped buy to drop off some snacks for Mom. The home is under a covid outbreak lockdown so I couldn’t go in. I told her to come out to the door (which she had been doing) and she wasn’t there when I arrived. The guy at the door went to find her. He brought her out in a wheelchair!!! When did that happen? She looked like she’s weighs 90lbs! If she had been in a room with other old ladies, I’m not sure I would have been able to pick her out without looking closely. She really didin’t seem to be there.

This has been so hard on Ella. I don’t know what to do. I am so lost…

Oh yeah, this has happened:

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!! I haven’t fell off the face of the earth, it just feels that way. I’ll post soon, but it’s not for today.

Having a very quiet Christmas here at home with Colin and Ella.

18 Years

Happy Anniversary to my Farmer. He spent the day combining wheat. Every year I wonder how we ever managed to pull off the wedding during wheat season?? Oh well, maybe next year we’ll spend our anniversary together.

Prayers Needed

I was hoping to post an update by telling you Grandma is back home and everything’s fine…

But I can’t.

Mom’s health has been being neglected by her family ‘doctor’ (Dr. Terri Rheaume) since her fall last May. Since January Mom’s legs have been swelling. Every time Mom calls the clinic (the clinic refuses to see people in person even though every other type of doctor can manage) she is told it’s “just old age”. Well, fast forward a couple of weeks ago and Mom’s legs are now so swollen she can’t fit into her pants and needed to borrow on of my dresses so we could take her to her kidney doctor appointment. She could barely get out of the car!!

Two days later, we get a phone at 4:30 AM, it’s Ella saying Grandma fell in the bathroom and she has the ambulance on the way. Wow that was one fast drive to Beachburg. Thank God Ella was there. She was AMAZING!!!

Mom was very lucky and only fractured her right shoulder when she fell. Somehow she missed the tub and the toilet. Her legs just gave out on her. The hospital was horrified by the size of her legs. In the first 4 days they were able to drain (with medication) 20 lbs!!!!!!! of fluid. Even with that much weight gone, her legs are still huge.

She started doing better at the hospital. Physio and the wonderful nurses were doing a great job to get her back on her feet and walking again. It’s hard since she can’t use her right arm, so that means no walker for now. The hospital has also discovered that she has A-Fib and ‘slight’ heart failure. Stuff you would think your primary care doctor should know about.

So my sister and BIL arranged for Mom to go to the nursing home/retirement home in Beachburg. Everything was fine on Friday when she arrived. Just a little congestion, which is normal for this time of year. Then a cough started. It’s sounds like she’s coughing up a lung. I called the head nurse and spoke with her. We decided to send Mom back to the hospital (the Home’s doctor doesn’t come in until Wednesday). I’m here at home waiting for a call to say the ambulance/bus has arrived and she’s on her way.

Please, everyone, we need your prayers.

Crazy Weather

What’s the weather doing where you are? It can’t seem to make up it’s mind. We got so cold last week that Colin actually lit the furnace again! We’ve got the a/c back on and I’m so very glad because they are already talking 35C/95F with the humidity. My asthma is acting up today, so I’m so very grateful that I don’t have to fight the humidity too.

I’ve got a bit of sewing done. So many of my dresses are getting worn out. Far too worn for going to town.

I had a lot of trouble with this dress. The original top didn’t fit, still not sure how considering it was a custom pattern? So I pulled out my old faithful Folkwear dirndl pattern and changed it to fit the skirt, which was already cut out. I hand inserted the side zipper, which was a first for me.

See these happy, smiling faces?? That’s because our whole family is now ‘half’ vaccinated. It has done a world of good for Ella’s anxiety. Colin and Ella had rather sore arms for a few days (couldn’t lift over their heads without pain/supporting the arm). I was fine. We also had really great people give us the needles. I’ve NEVER had a ‘shot’ that hurt as little as this one.

Now if only we could get some gentle rain in suitable amounts, everything would be great.

Almost Finished…

I’ve been planning this post for a while. Colin had just started planting the wheat. Now I’m happy to say he’s one field away from being done with the soy beans. Colin finished up planting the corn on Sunday.

My Christmas/birthday present finally arrived…

Colin got us central air!! I will finally be comfortable in the summer. I will be able to cook/bake in the summer. And most importantly, I’ll be able to breathe in the summer. My lungs have such a hard time in the heat and humidity.

Elizabeth posted over on her blog the other day about how much she and her Grandma love the month of May. I do too (and not just because it’s my birthday month). Her post got me thinking, where’s our May? Ever since Colin got the wheat in (the end of April) it’s been cold and rainy (except the day we got snow!). It does not look like the middle of May here:

Leaves are starting and my tulips are loving the cooler weather, but the trees are still basically sticks.

Speaking of my birthday, I turned 50 on the 4th. It was quiet since we are in lockdown again.

Spring!

Spring has definitely arrived in Renfrew County. Hopefully it’s here to stay. Facebook has been showing me blizzards from years past. Meanwhile, Colin is talking about starting to plant wheat at the end of the week if it stays dry.

The snow drops and crocuses are finished. The bloomed nice and early. Now we’ve got ‘bluebells’, aka squill. They are really starting to spread nicely. I want the entire yard to be blue in the spring, just like the old houses in Toronto that we pass on the way to church.

So, I did a thing… I let Ella ‘trim’ my hair. Should have been about 3 inches. We started with wrist length hair…

My hair is now waist length! That’s a good 6 inches! Sigh, it feels short! But I will admit my braids look better because they are more or less the same thickness all the way down.

Colin’s been busy with his mobile seed cleaner. Last week he spent 3 days down around Carleton Place cleaning for his big customers. He loves those jobs. They are long days, but it’s large tonnage, good crops, and helpful famers. He’s actually short a few guys down there because their crops weren’t good enough with last year’s drought.

Gotta go and figure out something for supper. I’m still having so much trouble menu planning. Why? I’d really like to know…

Happy Birthday

Look who had a birthday!

Daddy turned 51 on Tuesday. Somehow it ‘snuck up’ on him, but Ella and I remembered. I was going to make stuffed tenderloin, but I couldn’t easily find the tenderloins that I know I have out in the deep freeze. I pulled a pork sirloin roast out instead. Sirloin is a weird cut I’ve never seen before. It didn’t have much marble so I headed off to Pinterest to find a way to cook it. I’m glad I did. Even Ella said it was really good, and she’s gotten really picky about pork lately. Here’s the recipe. My roast was just over 4 lbs so I cooked it for longer. So good! In fact, so good I didn’t get a picture – ha ha!!

Colin and Ella have been having a hard time getting through a whole cake before it gets fuzzy. I’ve been making lots of squares since Christmas and that seems to make them happy. I made brownies for Colin’s birthday. And since it’s his birthday I splurged and put icing on. I don’t think brownies need icing. These brownies are Ella safe and work well if you switch the flour for Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Flour. I think the recipe comes from Elizabeth, but I didn’t write it down so now I’ve forgotten.

Brownies

1 1/3 cup flour

1 cup white sugar

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 tsp bk. powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup oil

1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix everything together and pour into a greased 8×8″ pan. Bake 350F for 20 min.

These dinner rolls were made by Colin’s Grandma Fletcher. Now be warned, I think these are weird as a ‘dinner roll’ because at the end they get glazed with sugar! But it’s not a Fletcher family gathering without these rolls. Ella loves them, so I often have a bag full in the freezer. They make good snacking. I’ve cut the recipe down a little bit so that it fits in my bread machine easier. If you do this in the bread machine you MUST babysit it until it’s done mixing. Of course, you can also do this the old fashioned way, with a bowl.

This method I’m going to show you is the way I do most of my bread doughs. It comes from the book Secrets of a Jewish Baker. It’s a bit faster and I think it turns out a little nicer. It’s a sponge method where you let the yeast do it’s thing for a while before adding everything else.

In your bread machine pan, add the following and mix till combined (I just use a spatula).

3 3/4 cup water

3 cups flour

4 1/2 tsp yeast

1 1/2 tsp sugar

Let this sit for 30 min.

Add the rest of your ingredients:

1/2 cup lard, melted and cooled

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar

3 3/4 cup flour

Start your ‘dough’ cycle and watch the consistency.

Just about done kneading. Now here’s where this method saves time. You don’t have to let the dough rise. You take the dough and shape it as you wish. If you are using this method to make Grandma’s dinner rolls, cut the dough into 96 little balls (4 dozen rolls) and drop them into greased muffin tins. Let them rise somewhere warm for 30-60 min.

As you can see, this day I got tired of rolling out balls. I made 3 dozen rolls and a pan of sticky buns. Ella loves sticky buns too. If you want to make the sticky buns, just roll out 1/4 of the dough. I make it 12 inches wide by however long it will go. Then all you have to do is spread it with butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. That easy, no measurements needed. Then roll up the short end and cut into 12 -fits my 9×9″ pan.

Bake at 350F for 15-20 min, the sticky buns might take a few more minutes. Turn out of the pans as soon as they are done. Of course, the sticky buns need turned out over a plate.

Mix 2 Tbsp milk with 1 Tbsp icing sugar. When the buns are cool, wash the tops with the glaze. They freeze well if you can keep the vultures out of them long enough.