Sunday, October 19, 2014

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

By now I imagine most of you know how I spent my summer.  If not, you can read about it on the Caring Bridge site Erin started.  And several of you have asked when I would be returning to this blog.  Wow!  You missed me?  Turns out I have more readers than I realized! 

I've thought long and hard about whether or not I should write about the accident.  More to the point. COULD I write about it?  Fortunately, I haven't had nightmares or flashbacks to the fire.  I've told the story so many times, at this point I'm pretty sure I say the exact same thing, word for word.  No deviating.  No thinking about what could have been.  No concentrating on the fear or the pain.  It's all about the recovery.  Not that I remember much about that.  The first 4-5 weeks in the KU Burn Unit are pretty foggy.  Gotta love narcotics!  What I do remember is the wonderful care I received from the nurses, some of the visitors (sorry if you came early and I didn't remember!) and the tons of cards I received.  

Not so surprisingly, this whole experience has been life changing.  I've certainly learned a lot about myself.  For the first time in my life, people are telling me how strong I am.  The Doctors, nurses, and therapists all praised me for my determination to get better.  They were amazed at how hard I worked to get back on my feet and home.  Well guess who is even more amazed?  Yep - that would be me.  My entire life I've considered myself the complete opposite from the person I became this summer.  The real challenge will be to see if I can retain these qualities. 

My relationship with Greg was also drastically affected.  He's not really the type to discuss these things, but I believe the thought of losing me scared the bejesus out of him!  His caring side came roaring out and took over.  It was nice to be reminded that he really does love me. 

I always knew how strong Erin is, but boy, let me tell you, she kicked butt when it came to taking care of her momma!  I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful, caring daughter. 

Friends.  Boy oh boy do I have some awesome friends.  Not that I didn't already know that, but they not so subtly reminded me just how lucky I am to have such generous and caring people in my life.  I'll never ever take them for granted.   

We're 4 months out now, and things are going well.  I rushed back to work just a week after getting out of rehab.  Turns out that might not have been the best idea.  My employer, who, did I mention, has been awesome throughout this whole thing?  Anyway, they agreed to let me cut back to 6 hour days for now, until I can get my strength back.  It's not easy to accept that your body won't let you do what your mind thinks you can do.  I'm working on that. 

Last thing -- a big thank you to all of you.  When I went back and read all of the FB posts and Caring Bridge messages, I felt the love.  And then I cried.  But they were happy tears, so it's all good. 


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Because I'm Happy*

Hi Barb -- I'm Barb -- nice to meet you.  Or something like that.  Recently I feel like I've seen a new side of my personality that I either didn't know existed or more likely, pretended didn't exist. 

I've always been  a positive person.  No matter how dark and dreary things are, I will always find the silver lining.  Feeling down?  Come see me!  I promise you'll be a happier person when you leave.  If you enjoy wallowing in your pain, you probably don't want to talk to me.   So how is it I never saw the negativity inside myself?  When it comes to making myself feel better?  I suck! 

For the last couple of weeks I've made a concerted effort to stay away from negativity.  Not saying I was 100% successful, but it's coming along.  Change is never easy, right?  You know the old saying "you reap what you sow"?  I feel like the more positivity I project, the more I will attract.  I think that may be the concept behind the book "The Secret" that my bff/sister/cousin Julie gave me several years ago.  She said it would change my life.  It sat on my laundry chute in my bathroom for years, begging me to read it.  And I did.  I read the same few pages over and over again, but could never get past them.  Maybe it's time to try again.  Now where did I put that darn book? 

In other news... I recently did a sleep study, and was diagnosed with moderate Sleep Apnea.  The next step is to get a CPAP machine calibrated and start using it.  I'll let you know how that goes.  I have very high expectations for this treatment.  I've had so much difficulty just waking up every morning and getting to work on time, that the idea of getting a good night's sleep and waking up refreshed has me positively giddy!!!

*The old me would say "I HATE THAT SONG!!!"  The new me says I can't wait till that Pharrell guy puts out a new single!!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Big Brother

I just talked to Bill on the phone, and I'm beyond thrilled to say it really was my brother on the other end.  Not that heavily medicated, groggy, hurting beyond imagination man of the last two weeks.   When Mom and I visited 2 days ago, he was better than when he was still in the Trauma ICU, but he was still in a great deal of pain.  One of the Orthopedic Doctors came in while we were there and gave us a run down of his injuries.

1) broke three of the five metatarsal bones in his right foot, which
     they haven't repaired yet
2) broken right tibia with loss of bone, which will require a bone graft in
     the future
3) broken right distal femur just above the knee - they put a metal plate in
     to help stabilize it
4) severe soft tissue damage on back side of  his right calf - skin and muscle
     grafts were done

WOW.  That's a lot of hurting going on right there. 

Just now, on the phone he reported that he'd had an excellent day and reached several milestones, including:

    * The drains in his back were removed
    * He was able to stand on "one weak leg" as he put it, for the first time
    * The Physical Therapists (who he referred to on Saturday as the Crash
       Test Dummies) helped him get into a wheelchair and he was able to
       wheel himself around the nurses station a few times and then sit up
       in the chair for 1/2 hour.  (I think he's changed his opinion of the
       PTs now)
    * They were able to remove the nerve block that was helping ease
       some of the pain
    * He had them stop the IV pain medicine

So again, WOW!   That's more like a lot of HEALING going on!!  I told him he needs to call Mom so she can hear just how great he sounds.  I know how relieved she'll be when she hears his voice.  It sounds like he'll be leaving KUMC sometime this week, but we're not sure where he's headed.

He's still got a long road ahead before he's healed, but he's certainly headed in the right direction.  Thank you to each and every one of you who said a prayer, sent good thoughts, and continue to ask about him.  He's been overwhelmed by the response of so many friends. 

To my brave big brother, I just have to say I'm so proud of you, I love you and I'm really glad it wasn't your time to leave us!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Tomorrow would have been my dad's 95th birthday.  He's been gone for almost 15 years and I still think about him every day.  I suppose most daughters think their dad was the best, but really, my dad WAS the best!!  I remember when I was a little girl, I'd sit on the back of the couch behind him and pretend to dump ketchup, mustard, and anything else I could think of on his hair, and then rub it all in.  His hair was a disaster when I was done, but he didn't mind.  That tradition continued on with the grandkids - I even have a picture somewhere of Rosalie playing with his hair.  Of course, she had much less to play with than I did! 

My dad came from a family of 9 kids, and family was always very important to him. As a child, we visited my Grandma and Grandpa Granger in Strong City at least once a month, maybe more often.  (kids don't keep great track of time you know)  There was always lots of family there, and Grandma always fixed a big meal for everyone.  I was close to all of my aunts and uncles, but not my cousins so much.  Most of my cousins were considerably older than me.  I was the youngest grandchild, and there were many great grandkids older than me.  He inherited his love for flowers and gardening from his mother.  Gardening was how my dad relaxed after a hard day of bricklaying.  Can you imagine?  He worked for hours in the garden and it showed.  After Greg and I were married, he tried to help me with a garden, even helping me harvest and can green beans.  He finally figured out it just wasn't my thing, but he never judged me for it.  He also had a nice little orchard with fruit trees, grape vines, and black raspberries.  Mom and Dad spent hours every summer canning green beans, tomatoes, raspberry, grape and rhubarb jelly, and freezing corn and fruit for pies.  He always helped Mom out with that kind of stuff.

He taught me to drive, change a tire, check my oil, and pump gas.  He always wanted me to be able to  take care of myself.   He reluctantly let me mow the yard.  Now I'm not sure if it was because he was worried I'd get hurt or that I'd hurt the mower! 

I think my dad was the most gentle man I've ever known.  He had a soft spot for babies, both human and animal.  He even loved the pet raccoon we had when Erin was little.  Being around babies made his whole face light up.  He couldn't keep his hands off of them.

showing new baby Erin to her cousin 

November 1983 with 7 month old Erin 
love that look of contentment on his face

sneakin' a smooch - Christmas 1983
(not sure what Miss Erin's problem was!)

After he retired, he and mom moved into Burlingame, and he missed the country so much.  He'd get restless in town, and the next thing I knew, he'd be at my house.  He didn't want anything special, and didn't expect me to entertain him.  He just liked being on the farm.  The last ten years of so of his life, he and mom came out every Sunday afternoon, like clockwork.  We watched football or basketball, or whatever other sport was on together.  Those Sundays are one of the things I miss the most.  

One thing that did keep him busy in those later years was baking.  He became famous for the cakes he shared with this Masonic brothers and at the Sr. Center Meal Site.  He checked Greg's Grass and Grain every week for new recipes.   

Tomorrow will be a bittersweet day.  I'm taking Carter and Chloe with me to put flowers on his grave.  I wish with all my heart that they could have known their Great Grandpa Granger.  I'll share some stories with them, but of course it won't be the same.  We'll just have to settle for a visit with Great Grandma Granger.  She's pretty cool too. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

So long George.....

What a great weekend I just spent with Erin!  Shopping for baby clothes for my new great niece Jolie!  Lunch out at Chilis!  Driving all over downtown KC looking for the elusive "Liquor Store", and finally driving all the way back out to KCK before we found one!  Hanging out at the Power and Light District, drinking free drinks!  Finding friends in line to have fun with while waiting to get into the Sprint Center!  Watching Eric Church!  Falling down concrete steps and cracking my elbow open!  GEORGE STRAIT LIVE!!!!!!!  Standing out in the cold for 45 minutes with Rose and Evelyn, 2 little old ladies from Joplin, Missouri, trying to hail a cab!  A trip to Truman Medical Center for stitches!  Staying out till 4:00 AM!  

Yes indeed, it was a night to remember.  At least I'll know when I had my last tetanus shot, right?  I mean, that's handy!  The TMC Emergency Room is interesting, to say the least.  Lots of drunks, passed out.  A strange lady singing and warning of her bathroom problems.  But above all, the nicest staff of nurses and Drs. I could have asked for.  When I was "this" close to passing out, they started talking about Dolly's boobies just to distract me.  Now who does that?   The people around me at the Sprint Center were also very kind.  There was a nurse sitting in front of us, and she took care of me till the medical staff took over.  The dude pushing my wheelchair was a maniac!  He was threatening to throw people out of the building if they didn't get out of his way!  He might take his job just a little too seriously, that's all I'm sayin.  And when I refused to leave the concert until George was done, they didn't push me.  Pretty sure they knew if was useless. 

And then there was George.  Oh George.  He sounds just as good today as he did 30 years ago.  Now I'm really kicking myself for not buying tickets to the Wichita concert in April when I had the chance.  Who knows?  I might have been able to get through the night in one piece!

Sharing a few pictures from the night...

Sprint Center fun on a budget...

Cowboy Boots are a MUST for George.... pay no attention to those little bottles....

Fun at Power and Light!

Look who found us in line!  Julie and her sisters!  And some little guy???

Eric who?  (sorry, not a fan) 
There's the evidence -- in case I decide to sue Sprint Center!


my love!!!


apparently I'm not his only fan....

The Cowboy RIdes Away.....


No George!!!!  please don't go!!!!


Feel free to stop here if you'd rather not see my ugly elbow!

at the ER before they stitched it up

the day after.... bruises make everything look worse!

At the end of the day, stitches and all, I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.  But only with my best friend by my side -- love ya Erin!  Thanks for taking such good care of your momma!