My sister

Please pray for my sister.  She prefers that I not use her name and so I won’t.  She is having some very serious health issues that are ao far undiagnozed.  She has a huge battery of tests tomorrow (Friday).  She is losing mobility in her right leg.  Her right arm and hand is losing strength and coordination.  She is having touble swallowing and she is falling frequently.

She is not married and lives alone.  Pray for answers so that we will know what we are dealing with.  Pray for God’s healing.  Pray for wisdom for all of us.

Dubbie – Update

As of Wednesday evening Dubby was doing wonderful. When his daughter went to see him, she found him to awake and alert. He is still complaining of nausea and pain in his legs when he tries to walk. He seemed to be oriented in time and space and has plans to ask the doctor about the nausea at his next appointment.

Thank you for your prayers! God is good.

Hospital Elegante’

Oh, those hospital cots. Aren’t they wonderful? Not. However, I did get used to them and I have slept a couple of cots that were actually comfortable. Not that you get much sleep in a hospital anyway. That is for another post.

After so many days and nights at the hospital, you develop a routine that works. I tend to desire a lot of ‘creature comforts’. As a Mary Kay Director (then Consultant) , I must have my makeup. I had my blow drier for my hair, shampoo, shower gels, etc. I developed my packing system and packed the same way every time I left home to go to Abilene. I only needed one midsize suitcase and my pillow (a must have item), and I was ready to go.

When I arrived at the hospital, either Mother’s room or Daddy’s room, which ever one needed me the most, I unpacked my suitcase as much as possible depending on how much closet space and drawers were available in the room. Once that was done, then I felt like my nest was made.

On the oncology floor and also on the physial therapy floor, the nurses were great about showing me where the clean linens were kept. I would go and get what we needed, towels, washcloths, blankets, sheets, etc. I did not leave the hospital and go some where else to shower. I ‘lived’ there.

Since I am a coffee drinker, I got to know the coffee room well, making coffee for everyone regularly.

I could share with you my exact routine because it is still very clear in my memory, but I’m not going to. Boring! You din’t know want to know the details. Just know this. My motto was, “Ask and ye shall receive. Seek and ye shall find.” If I needed something for me or for my parents, I asked. If I could get it for myself or do it for myself, I did.

Yes, spending so much time at the hospital was hard for many reasons and on many levels. However, I do not regret any of it and would do it again if necessary.

If I did have to do it again, I feel sure that I could fall back into my same routine and not ‘miss a beat’. Well, I have done it again. Last fall my husband fell off a ladder and broke both ankles. Six nights in the hospital. Yes, I went right back and did the same things almost exactly as I did them before.

Hospital Elegante’


 This is an email I received today.  Please pray for Kenny, for Helen, and for their family.  This is his second recurrence of cancer.  If you or a family member has been down this road, then you understand the depth of their prayer request.  It comes from the innermost part of their hearts.    They feel the burden in every fiber of their being.  Knowing that our prayers go where we can’t,  let’s spiritually stand beside them, praying that God will meet their needs in every way.

God bless you, Kenny.  It is my prayer that God will touch your cancer and bring healing and restoration to your body.  I pray that God will give you wisdom and strength to meet every challenge, every problem, every decision with courage and faith.

I would like for you to go ahead and have Mrs. Foster put me (and my family) on her prayer list.  Our diagnosis is metastisized sarcoma in the lungs.  We are praying for a miracle, for guidance to know the direction that God wants us to go, and for more faith.

Thank you for all your prayers and support.

Love you guys,

Kenny and Helen

Our Imaginary Sister

One day soon after Mother went to the nursing home, she had a couple of visitors.  Mother was sitting in the foyer talking to them. No, they were talking to her.  A nurse came to Mother and said, “Your daughter, ______, called and said she will be here in a few minutes.” Mother, having one of her more lucid days, said, “I don’t have a daughter named _____.” In a few minutes my sister walked in, and Mother’s guests began to ask her questions such as, “Hey, where is _______?” “Why didn’t you bring ______?” “______is supposed to be with you.”

From that moment and for the next several months we had an imaginary sister named _______.  She was the one that did everything wrong.  She was always forgetful and always late.  She became the butt of our jokes and we were pretty cruel to her.  Good thing she wasn’t real.

There was a problem, however.  Daddy was not at all happy when he heard about our new sister.  You see, we have another ______ in the family.  A real one.  Daddy was afraid that our jokes would get back to her family.  We were very selective about who knew about _______.

I just remembered my son-in-law’s advice: “Don’t write anything you don’t want the whole world to read.” hmmmmmmm I just decided to go back up and take out the name of our imaginary sister.  I guess you can just use your imagination and fill in the blanks for yourself!

Daddy Pitched a Fit.

Adjusting to my parents being in two different locations was hard. I was so accustomed to just walking back and forth from room to room. Though Mother’s nursing home was not far from the hospital, it was still harder to care for both of them as we would like to. I spend the nights at the hospital with Daddy and then part of the day with Mother.

Living in a hospital is something I will cover in another blog, and in itself was a learning and growing experience for me. However, I could only stay about four nights in a row. I don’t know if it was the emotional stress, the fatigue, or what, but after five nights I would begin to feel sick. I felt like I was getting a stomach virus, but, of course, never did. I would go home and stay for about three days and then come back.

When I went home my sisters would take over. They couldn’t stay at night, but they did more daytime care. Well, Darla did stay as many nights as she could. Her children were still little and they needed her during the night. My other dsister did not do any nights, but she did spend a tremendous amount of time with Mother at the nursing home.

Daddy continued to recover from the stroke after the second chemo treatment. His speech continued to improve. He could put his thoughts and words together to say what was on his mind, but the tone of his voice continued to be strange. He sounded exactly like Forrest Gump! I don’t know how else to describe it. He could have been the voice double for Tom Hanks!!!

Mother very sweetly adjusted to life in the nursing home. She couldn’t stand alone, but she could walk some with her walker. A very sad moment was when Darla told me that Mother fell because she wanted something from across the room and she got up from her chair to go get it. She had forgotten that she couldn’t walk without the walker.

It was during one of my times at home that Daddy got fed up, as he put it. He had been in the hospital for about 7 weeks at that time, I think. Who wouldn’t be fed up! He told the doctor that he was sick of his room. The walls were closing in, and he wanted out! He wanted to put on his shoes, and go out to his land and kick the dirt! He wanted the doctor to do something to make that happen!

The decision was made to move him to another floor. I can’t remember the name of the floor, but he would receive physical therapy, with the goal of helping him walk again.

I was not present when he left the oncology floor, but I heard about it. All the nurses came out into the hallway to tell him good by. There were hugs and tears aplenty. You see, Daddy had been there long enough to know each of them personally. He told them stories and made them laugh. They had seen him go to death’s door and return. They truly loved him. We loved them.

Tomorrow: The chicken dance.

Dubbie – Update

This was emailed to me today by Dubby’s daughter. David is her pastor. She is commenting his sermon today and how is reflects on the new life that her father will soon have. It is clear that his love of music is going to smoother his transition into that new life.

David’s sermon today was timely. He read from Ex. 15 where the Israelites were stopped at the bitter water. The water was a cleansing, a laxative, to purge what was left of Egypt from them before they could enter into new promises. The new promise was accomplished by a tree being thrown into the water to sweeten it—the cross of salvation thrown on the bitterness of our past. We enter into the new promise—none of the diseases of Egypt —by way of the Living Water. Dubby is crossing into new territory: He has long been a warrior, provider, and leader as well as servant for his family, his church, and for many, many others in the community. He doesn’t know exactly where he is right now. He has rarely been served, rarely had to rely on anyone to fight a battle for him having always been the protector, and perhaps has not bee a follower since he was in the Army, except in playing music. I feel strongly that music is the bridge between the earth and the Kingdom of God for him. He understands that. It is the river of peace and the vehicle of praise and worship. He can learn his place of sonship and his place as a bride through music. He can also learn to lay down the weapons of warfare and accept the Good Shepherd’s rod and staff through music. Please pray that we will make the correct choices for him as he listens.


Dubbie is a kind, gentle man. I don’t know his age. His daughter is married to my husband’s cousin. Earlier this month he developed a severe case of shingles. Three days later he started falling. His blood sugar was out of control with major swings from high to low. One of the falls resulted in a small pelvic fracture. After several days in the hospital he has now been transferred to a nursing home. He is not eating well and is not getting up out of bed. He seems to be getting weaker as the days go by.
The Dubbie and his wife, Nannie, have one daughter. She and her husband have been the ones to bear the caretaking burden.

Please pray for Dubbie, that he will be pain free, and gain strength to be able to live independently with his wife again. Pray for his daughter and her husband as they fight fatigue, trying to be with Dubbie as much as possible. Pray for wisdom and strength for them.

Here is a quote from his daughter’s email to me: “I’m calling those things that are not as though they are. Abundant and victorious life for Dubbie and Nannie, pain free days and nights, skills to care for themselves….”


Time to Expand

This blog, to this point, has been about my parents, myself, my sisters, and our families.  I have much more to write and to share.  I still have to tell you about our imaginary sister,  our Hospice experiences, and Mother and Daddy’s few days at the nursing home.  I will get to those things as well as many more lessons we learned.

However, it is now time to expand.  The reason we felt God’s presence so often during my parent’s illness was because people were praying for us, daily, hourly.  I want to bring prayer into this blog.

If there is someone in your life, a family member, a friend, perhaps even you, that is in the midst of a crisis, please feel free to contact me.  I will add that person to my blog in the form of a prayer request.  I plan on having a category for each person and will update the info as I receive updates from you.  You can give me as much or as little info as you feel comfortable.  You don’t even have to use the person’s real name.  God knows and we don’t have to.

Because blogging is so new to me and my feet are firmly planted in the 20th century, I still have things to learn.  I am going to try to add my email address to the heading of this blog.

In case I can’t figure it out……here it is:

“I want……Ham”

I can’t remember the exact date.  It was after Mother’s Day, but before the end of May, 2003. No amount of ‘scheduled crying’ was going to help prepare me for this day.  My emotions went from one end of the spectrum to the other, and everything in between.  If these events had been spread out over several days, I could have handled it better.  The fact is that they weren’t.  I was faced with one ‘hip pocket’ moment after another and before noon on that day, my hip pocket was full.

Mother had recovered sufficiently from her mastectomy. The time had arrived for her to leave the hospital.  As much as we wanted Mother and Daddy to be transferred together, it was obvious that was not going to happen.  We found a nursing home with a reputation for having a strong rehab program, and made arrangements for Mother to move in.  This was moving day for her.

It was also the day for Mom’s visit.  Darla traveled to Ballinger to pick her up.  My other sister was gathering clothes and things that Mother was going to need at the nursing home.  I was at the hospital.

Daddy had been basically  comatose for several days.  The night before an oncology nurse had tried crushing his meds into strawberry ice cream and he ate it.

This day began very early.  I talked to the nurse about trying the strawberry ice cream trick again.  He easily ate the ice cream. Yea!!  Still not saying a word or even acknowledging my presence.   After he finished that ice cream, I went and got him some more to see if he would eat that as well.

I was standing on the right side of his bed feeding him.  An aide was on the other side doing something.  I don’t remember what.  As Daddy continued to open his mouth for the ice cream, still with his eye half open and fixed straight ahead, I said, “You sure are eating this ice cream well.  Daddy, I would be happy to feed you anything , if you could just tell me what you want.”  This man who had not spoken in several days said, “I want……ham.”

To say I was shocked was a major understatement.  I replied, “Daddy, if I got you ham would you eat it?”  He shook his head and replied, “Yes”, still not looking at me.  I lifted my eyes to the aide on the other side of the bed who looked ever bit as shocked as I felt.  With a huge smile I said, “Well, you heard the man.  Let’s get him some ham.”

Within 30 minutes, he got his ham.  He ate just a few bites.  It was still very painful for him because of the blisters.  The important thing, however, was that he began to talk.   A word or two at first.  Then a phrase. His voice had a strange tone, almost melodic.  He slowly began to focus on my face when I talked to him.  He was coming back to us!  I was elated.

After breakfast I brought Mother into his room so that they could spend the morning together.  She sat in a comfortable lounging chair next to his bed.  Even though they talked to each other very little,  they enjoyed being together.

It was around 10:00 a.m.  Mom arrived.  What a woman! This 92 year old refused to ride in a wheelchair, saving her steps down the long hospital halls.  Not her.  She walked into the hospital and walked out with only a cane for asistance.  When she walked into Daddy’s room, I could barely contain my emotions.  She went to Daddy’s bed, this her oldest son who was obviously dying, and not shedding a tear, began to talk to him.  He talked to her in broken phrases that sometimes didn’t make sense.  She stood beside his bed for about 45 minutes.  She encouraged him, and made him laugh.  Such a special time.  She was soon ready to leave.

Mother and Daddy ate lunch together.  Even while I was helping them eat, I was also working to get a phone line activated in Mother’s nursing home room, as well as packing up all that we had accumulated during her 5 1/2 weeks hospital stay.

About 2:00 p.m. it was time for me to take Mother to the nursing home.  I brought Mother over to Daddy’s bed so they could say good by.  This was going to be a major life change and in spite of Mother’s dementia,  she understood it.  Daddy was still not quite all there.  I’m not sure he understood.  Oh, how hard it was to watch.

I was going to have to leave Daddy for several hours which bothered me tremendously, but there was not much I could do about it.  I can’t remember the exact times here.  I took Mother to the nursing home.  My sister met us there with Mother’s things from home.  We both worked to get her settled.  I went to Walmart to buy extra things she would need.  Emotionally she held up very well.  That made it less difficult for us.

I think I went back to the hospital to feed Daddy his supper.  He was still not able to eat much, but he also got strawberry ice cream!  His speech was still gradually improving.  After feeding him, I went back to the nursing home, just to make sure Mother was alright.

The end of the day came and all I can say is that leaving my mother in that nursing home ranks right up at the top on my list of ‘hardest things I have ever done’.  The tears overflowed.

When I arrived back at the hospital that evening to spend the night with Daddy, I looked in the mirror for the first time all day.  I literally scared myself.  All the emotion and fatigue from the day was showing on my face.

I was thankful the day from h.e.l.l. was over.