Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Random Things from Facebook

I know, I know, this is supposed to be a Facebook exercise but I can't bring myself to write a note. I think I will start 25 Random Things for Bloggers.

Here it goes:

1. I drool like a maniac. I always have, and am pretty sure this will continue until the sweet Lord calls me Home. My dad often joked I would go to the prom with a wet chest. Thankfully, I didn't, and was also able to attribute some of my nighttime drooling to my retainers as I got older. Now I have no excuse. I am 24, married, and I drool like a fool. Sweet.
2. I was only 20 months old when my brother was born. I was terribly jealous. His blood count was low when he was born and the doctors gave him blood without my parents permission - big no no. To make a long story short, the doctor was a friend of the family and my parents never felt like they could do anything about it. So, a week later when purple spots appeared all over my brother's body my parents freaked out! The pediatrician's conclusion - pinch marks from the unhappy big sister. Yup, that's me! I was a sneaky little girl and when my mom wasn't looking I would pinch the mess out of my poor brother.
3. I can sleep anywhere. If I hear a dishwasher, dryer, ride in a car, etc. I can fall asleep instantly. I also have to have a fan on in my bedroom at night.
4. I was home schooled for eight years. Thankfully my mom was really cool and made sure we did cool stuff. Let me tell you, there are some weird home school people out there. 
5. When I was nine and George, my brother, was seven my mom left us at home while she finished her Christmas shopping. We unwrapped and rewrapped all our presents while she was gone and she never found out. HA!
6. When I was a senior in high school my best friend, Michelle, and I got stranded in the snow and ice on Highway 540 trying to drive home from Greek Weekend in Fayetteville. We had to hitch a ride with a random family and wait in Alma, AR for her dad to come get us. Needless to say, I will not ever risk driving in ice and snow again. 
7. My dad is old enough to be my grandfather, but in better shape than most of my friend's parents. Go Dad! BTW my dad is 66.
8. My mom is the most amazing woman I know and I hope I can be the kind of mom she was to me, George, and Eleanor. 
9. Reid and I have dated since we were juniors in high school. And...we were each others first and only kiss!
10. If I could have gone to college for a MOM degree then I would have. I settled for the very useful Journalism degree instead. ;) I can't wait to be a stay at home mom!
11. I want to be First Lady one day. It doesn't have to be of the US, I will settle for Texas. But, I am pretty sure this blog has totally ruined all chances of Reid winning a nod for public office. Sorry, Reido.
12. I have IBS
13. I take at least one pregnancy test a month. I have no reason, I never miss a BC pill. I guess I'm just paranoid. 
14. I can't wait to have His and Hers closets. Really, this is what I look forward to right now. Exciting, huh?
15. I wish I was a professional figure skater.
16. After Reid read the first 15 of these and found out I wanted to be a figure skater he is encouraging me to take lessons. When I say "encouraging" I mean he told me I should go for what I really want, look into lessons, and get out on the ice. I don't think so, babe.
17. Ahhh diet sodas. I LOVE diet vanilla coke from Sonic. When at a restaurant I will always order Diet Coke, but can only bear Coke Zero or Diet DP from a can. I have tried to quit this addiction many times - cold turkey, phase out, one a day. It doesn't work. And, if my mom will still perk up if we say Diet Coke, then I know there is no hope for me. :)
18. I love cereal. I would eat it at every meal if I knew it was a good idea.
19. I lived in the same house my entire life. In the same room. I love that room. I love that house. I often joke with Reid that if my dad ever sells it we will be buying it! I also really hope George continues the Bain family tradition and raises his family on Rivercrest Drive if my dad decides to move.
20. I can't wait to officiate Luke and Annalise's wedding in 2028!
21. I want to own a Summer house on a Lake in Arkansas someday. Thankfully this is one of Reid's dreams, too!
22. Reid and I have had our kids named since before we were married. Surprisingly, I don't think they are going to change!
23. I wish I enjoyed cooking.
24. I love gossip TV like E! Once again, I've lost my chances of becoming First Lady.
25. I've never had a wreck!!! Unless backing into my dad's car in our driveway counts. Sorry dad!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My First Visit at PV

Mom and Me
Mom and a friend passing in the hall.
George and Mom walking.
Reid, Dad, Mom, and Me
Reid, Mom, and Me.
This is how she travels around the hallways in what we call her Mercedes Benz of wheelchairs. I have never seen anyone so good at using their legs to "walk" themselves in a wheelchair!
What a treat! Leave it to Mare to bring her a coke for dinner.

I will update more later. I just wanted to get the photos I took posted.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eye Doctor

Our good family friend and eye doctor went and visited my mom today. He did an out patient eye exam on her and determined the health of her eyes is still good - no cataracts, glaucoma, etc. He did agree with our conclusion that whatever sight trouble she is having is directly related to the progression of the disease and it's effect on the sensory organs. In other words, her brain is not sending her eyes the correct messages anymore.

On an exciting note, I get to see her on Saturday! I am heading to LR this weekend and I am so excited!

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Grandle Family

I thought I would share a picture (the only picture of all of us) from last Christmas in Dallas. We forgot to take a picture this Christmas (celebrated at Thanksgiving)... Oops! Oh well, there will be many more!

Denny, Debra, Reid, me, Trevor, and Cori

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Strongest Dad in the World

I had the opportunity to read this article in Sports Illustrated years ago. I really have no idea what made me think of it tonight, but I wanted to share it with you. It is an incredible story about the bond between a parent and a child. I hope it touches your heart like it does mine.

by Rick Reilly

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in Marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a Wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and Pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back Mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. On a bike. Makes Taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.
This love story began in Winchester , Mass. , 43 years ago, when Rick Was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him Brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him And his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. ``Put him in an Institution.''

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes Followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the Engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was Anything to help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told. ``There's nothing going on in his brain.''

"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a Lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed Him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his Head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the School organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want To do that.''

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who never ran More than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he Tried. ``Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore For two weeks.''

That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``when we were running, It felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly Shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

``No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a Single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few Years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then They found a way to get into the race Officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the Qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?''

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he Was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick Tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii . It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud Getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you Think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? ``No way,'' he says. Dick does it purely for ``the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with A cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best Time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world Record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to Be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the Time.

``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the Father of the Century.''

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a Mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries Was 95% clogged. ``If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' One doctor told him, ``you probably would've died 15 years ago.'' So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass. , always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''

*again, to watch the video, you will need to pause the blog music on the right.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Mountain Top Day

Most of our days the past few weeks have been spent in the valley. Today, however, God gave us, what I will call, a mountain top day.

She had what we call a "window" this morning. From the moment she saw my dad this morning during his visit, she was aware enough to ask him to take her home. Home this time was their house. She became increasingly upset during this "window," not understanding why she was at the nursing home. The nurse gave her a does of the medicine used to calm her down in these situations and it worked quickly. By the time my dad left my sister had arrived to feed Mom lunch, and with that the window closed. 

The hardest thing about these "windows" is that she has no memory of them ever occurring, but we forever will. I will always remember her asking me and George to take her home with us that night at the hospital. She knew us, knew the visiting time was limited and even said it wasn't long enough. We all bare the emotional pain of a physically painless disease.

It seems crazy, but I have been thinking a lot about The Notebook (movie and book). It portrays a couples deep love, even when one of them loses some of the memories to Alzheimer's. She, however, has "windows" in the movie where she remembers. I remember thinking it was ridiculous to think that someone with Alzheimer's could have glimpses and remember like she did. It is true, they can, and just like in the movie it is hardest on the people watching the disease take control.

This afternoon, my dad and brother went back to see Mom and she was in a terrific mood! She was even able to hold her head up (docs are not sure if her inability to hold her head up all the time is because of the progression of the disease or her medication). It was a mountain top day for everyone who was able to spend time with her - Mimi, Auntie Joye, Dad, George, Eleanor, Mrs. Porter. They said she smiled, giggled, and walked up and down the halls (with her legs and in her wheelchair) tons of times. My Aunt fed her dinner, dressed her for bed, and tucked her in before 5:30 - she was so tired. God, we thank you for mountain top days!

Happy Anniversary!

Wedding Day!
One Year Anniversary!
Picture in Nappa wine country this summer!

Two Year Anniversary! 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mom and Toby!

After almost a month apart, Mom and Toby, lovingly referred to as her fourth baby, were finally reunited outside on a walk at the nursing home. George captured the sweet moment. He said my mom and Toby were both so excited, and she kept hugging him saying, "Good boy." Toby has been pretty sad without my mom at home, so I am really glad he got to see his Mama.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Coming Back...

When I was in Little Rock for two weeks in December the thought of coming back to Dallas was never daunting. After living here for two years Dallas feels like home. I think there are several reasons for this. 

The first is that I have an amazing husband who I feel I grew even closer to during our time in Little Rock. There is something about experiencing deep pain together that can either tear you apart or draw you close. I have to make the decision everyday to share my feelings with Reid and to allow him to grieve with me, instead of isolating myself from him. Thankfully, I am married to a patient man! He is also supportive of my desire to return to Little Rock twice a month over the next few months. With a job that already requires him to travel during the week, I know this will be a season of sacrifice for both of us. I am so thankful for a loving and compassionate husband.

I also thought about the great friends I had in Dallas to support me. We are not all in the same home group anymore, but all still make our weekly trek out to our church, The Village, on Saturday nights. I know these girls would be at my side at any moment I need them! They are truly amazing women of God, and it has been a great privilege to share the past two years of my life with them.

And, how could I forget the little friends I get to spend my days with! Luke and Emerson remind me how innocent life can be. How wonderful it is to look at things through a child's eyes. My days with them are very tiring ;) and very wonderful, too! It is really amazing how much children can teach us if we just listen.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Her new home - PV

Since my parents wedding day they have lived together in a house on Rivercrest Drive. That changed Monday when my mom was moved into Presbyterian Village. I have had a vast array of emotions this week as I have tried to wrap my mind around what my dad must feel every night he goes to bed alone. I try to put myself in his place, even as much as I am hurting, but I can't imagine his loss. Twenty-five years of memories in a home, and you are forced to move your wife somewhere else for reasons you can't control. And, yet, his strength and dedication should be admired by every married man.

Mom had no trouble adjusting to life in the nursing home. It is almost as if she never knew anything changed. The lenient visiting hours have been so much better (on our family) at least. My dad is able to see her right before she goes to bed at night, and sees her at different times through the day. I think my mom has had more visitors than anyone else on her floor! She was always a social butterfly! My aunt has been able to fix her hair and put makeup on her, of course! She also has some cute new outfits I bought her before I left Little Rock and can wear jewelry in the nursing home. All of this helps her look more like the mom we knew at Thanksgiving. 

A little over a week ago, when I was still in LR, we became concerned about my mom's vision. It became increasingly evident that she was not seeing in the way you and I do. She was no longer making eye contact, she became scared to walk (she would almost immediately try to sit down on the ground if we tried to get her to walk), and she didn't respond to movement in front of her face. Traditionally, with Alzheimer's patients, sensory organs can shut down and though they may function correctly, the brain can't interpret the input. In other words, there may be nothing wrong with her eyes, but they are not communicating correctly with her brain. A type of "blindness" sometimes common in Alzheimer's patients is called Motion Blindness: Visual perception is intact in other ways and a person with motion blindness is therefore able to perceive color and form, for example, as accurately as a normally sighted person. However, they are unable to see motion and instead are only able to gauge movement in frames rather than as a fluid process. In a particular example the subject's stroke caused lesions to the middle temporal area (area MT or V5) in both sides of the brain, just above the ear. This condition makes it difficult to do simple things such as cross the street, or pour a cup of coffee.[1] [2] It has been suggested that the ability to see motion is crucial for survival.[3] This condition has been associated with Alzheimer's disease. It is possible that Alzheimer's patients lose their bearings and become lost not due to a memory problem, but perhaps as a result of this condition. It may therefore be that a person's failing ability to detect motion accurately could give doctors a way to detect Alzheimer's disease in its earliest stages.[4] [5] [6]

I went to counseling this week. The biggest question on my mind lately has been, "So how am I supposed to live the next 3-6 months (or however long she may live) knowing my mom is going to die?" Do I start to mourn the loss now? Do I act like I have not been given a time limit? How in the world do you handle something like this? Her advice was to take it one day at a time. Asking God to teach me something new everyday, to learn to depend on Him for something different everyday, etc. I also need to focus on what I do know about God - His character, love, etc., rather than allowing myself to focus on what I might not understand about Him - why He allows people to suffer. 

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18

Friday, January 2, 2009

Back with Luke and Emme

I got to see my little friends today! I missed them so much...and thankfully they were glad I was back, too. ;) After a morning check-up at the doctor's office, we played with their new toys from Christmas. What fun things Santa brought in his sleigh. UPS brought a package to the door this afternoon and Luke asked if it was Christmas Eve again. HA! The high in Dallas today was 75 and we spent the rest of the afternoon playing at the park and feeding the ducks at the pond nearby. There is a HUGE white swan that the kids thought was really funny. The pictures are from two weeks ago when we first met Mr. Swan. 

Tonight, on our way home from the park, Luke said, "I am pretty sad, Mare." When I asked him why he was sad he said it was because he missed his Mommy and Daddy. I told him it was OK and that we  were going to have a fun night (they were out celebrating his dad's birthday) and preceded to list everything we would do together. Then he said, "Mare, just say, 'Poor Lukie'." Can't say I blame him, I liked my Mommy and Daddy a lot, too, when I was his age.

Luke asked to trade his prize in his kids meal at Chick-Fil-A for an ice cream cone like the kids at the booth sitting behind us did. He was concentrating so hard while he ate this cone. I wish I had a picture of Emme's face. She really didn't like the ice cream, but was pretty jealous he was holding such a fun looking toy. I think Luke had 10 licks and then was mad it was on his hands.

After Em went to sleep, Luke and I watched his favorite WOW WOW Wubzy before he went to bed. This show is not my favorite, and I had quite a hard time not nodding off. I like the kids shows with singing and dancing -aka The Backyardigans

Anyway, there's a glimpse into the fun I had today. Hope you all had a great New Year and enjoy a restful weekend.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Back in Dallas

I visited my mom for the last time today in the Geri Psych Ward before I left to drive back to Dallas. She will be released sometime next week, and make her home at Presbyterian Village. After that Hospice will step in when the end is in sight. We do not yet know if at that time she will go to a Hospice facility or back to our home. We are hoping, as we have up to this point, to know what to do when the time comes. 

She has been acting so much more alert since they cut back on her meds. She was laughing a lot today. I still, am not sure how much recognition she has of people, and she certainly does not remember names consistently. She did ask where her sister went when my aunt left the room, though. She said some really cute stuff, things that wouldn't have made much sense to anyone but family, but it was a great New Year's present for those of us there with her. To see her finally in brighter spirits was what we have waited for - and today we saw it! 

The nurse reminded us that it is important to enjoy these moments because they can be short windows for someone with Alzheimer's, and she was right. By tonight, when my dad returned for the evening visit, Mom had refused dinner and was back to how she had been several days before. The window is short, constantly reminding us to take nothing for granted.