DeWayne and Joy

DeWayne and Joy

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Road Is Calling

It's obvious that our time here in OKC is running shorter by the day and we're thinking we might be able to hit the road again the first of July.  First destination - South Dakota, then points wests to what we didn't get around to seeing last summer and on to Seattle and the west coast until time to head on down to Arizona for the winter.  I'm getting excited!

Unfortunately, we won't have Bentley to take with us.  After all the family emergencies and having to leave him by himself way too much, we decided the best thing was to take him back and let him be adopted by another family that has a full size house.  Our RV was definitely too small for Bentley and he literally climbed the walls at times.  He is now running and playing with lots of room.  We miss him, but especially since we have moved into DeWayne's mom's house with her, we couldn't have brought him here.  Molly, the Schnauzer doesn't care for cats, so it would have been world war three around here.  We gave it a good try, but too much happened in too short a time and we were having to leave him alone too much.  Since he adapted so quickly to us, I knew he would adapt just as easily to another household.

For those of you that don't know what we've been up to, here's what I posted on my other blog a couple of days ago:

DeWayne and I are currently in the OKC area and have been grounded from our travels for the last few months. We came back home for the holidays and stayed around until late January for the appearance of a new grandson, Jonathan who was born a little early, but is just a handsome, perfect and welcome addition to our family.

After that, we were ready to head for our winter destination in Arizona, but had concerns about my daughter's health issues and wanted to stick around a little longer while she made some doctor visits. We thought she may have to have some surgery, but her doctor discovered some minor issues that were easily taken care of. But.....

As we made plans to head for warm, sunny Arizona, DeWayne had a "feeling" that we shouldn't go. I've had those feelings myself on occasion, and although few and far between, I've learned to respect my instincts. So I respected his, which turned out to be spot on.

Since we were temporarily established in McAlester Oklahoma for a while, I decided to see if I could get some relief for my back ailments through a local Chiropractor. After 10 adjustments, it was clear that I was not getting any long term relief, so I went to plan B, which was to get the series of three spinal injections that had previously awarded 4 years of relief from my chronic back problems. So I made an appointment for the first injection in Texarkana, which was the same clinic that did it for me four years ago. DeWayne took me down there and we spent a couple of days with my folks who live close to Texarkana.

But then, DeWayne's mom fell and broke her hip February 25th, so she was admitted to the hospital and underwent surgery the next day. Surgery was a success, but she quickly developed double pneumonia and quite frankly, wasn't doing well at all for a while.

And the very next week, I received word that my grandson had been airlifted to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock and was in ICU. So the next two weeks, I spent a lot of time on the road between OKC, Texarkana and Little Rock. I finally got the last two back injections out of the way and DeWayne's mom was doing better, but Nathaniel was not improving.

Nathaniel was born with a genetic disease called Propionic Acidemia eleven years ago and by the time he was three days old, he was in a metabolic crisis that put him into a coma for a while. Although the doctors were able to finally get the acidosis under control and install a feeding tube (which he lived his entire life with), the disease's effects of his extremely low blood sugar and the high blood acid caused significant brain damage. So Nathaniel began life with many disabilities due to the disease itself and the damage caused by the disease. We were told back then that he may live to age five.

Nathaniel beat the odds for eleven years, but when he went into yet another metabolic crisis and was placed in ICU, his body just couldn't recover this time and we lost our little angel the 17th of April. My comfort comes from knowing that he is now in a better place where he is disease free and no longer suffering or in pain. He was always happy in his limited life here on earth and his favorite song was "I'll Fly Away". Now he as flown away to run and play with the angels. I was able to be there for my son the day that the machines were disconnected and he had to let his own son go. It was a very hard thing to do, but I'm so thankful that I could be there for Kevin and his daughter Renee, hearts breaking as they had to let him go. The feeling of helplessness was overwhelming.

DeWayne's mom recovered from the pneumonia, but had to have a feeding tube surgically placed into her stomach and has had it ever since. Due to her age (84), the anesthesia, and the effects of having a feeding tube down her throat for two weeks seriously affected her ability to swallow and put her at extreme risk of aspirating. She was dismissed from the hospital and spent two weeks in a nursing home until she was able to qualify for a rehabilitation facility, where she spent another two weeks. We were finally able to bring her home 18 days ago and she has improved and gained her strength steadily ever since. We maintain her tube feeding schedule and medication and have had a steady stream of physical, occupational and speech therapists visiting and working with her, as well as home health nurses that check in every week. After flunking two swallow tests, she is scheduled for another one on the 12th, so we are optimistic that she will be able to pass this one and slowly start being able to take thick liquids and soft foods, then gradually begin to eat normally again and eventually have the tube removed.

Physically, she is fully able to get around the house with her walker, but we anticipate that with her rapid progress, she will be able to do away with the walker within a couple of weeks, if not sooner. It's so great to see her recovering at such a fast pace and our goal is to leave here knowing that she is in good shape and fully able to resume her life at home with no more supervision. Way to go, Effie Mae!

We miss our RV which is temporarily stored at a friend's house and are both ready to head back on the road and see what we can see. It's been a rough few months for us and we're looking forward to being nomads again.

We've made a new friend in "Hilda", a young woman that we hired to help out with the tube feeding and overall care for Effie Mae.  She's been such a wonderful and caring friend and helper to all of us and Effie Mae really likes her.  We're hoping she will be willing to come around a couple of times a month after we're gone to help with the vacuuming, dusting, mopping, etc.

The speech therapist actually brought yogurt today and tested Effie Mae with swallowing it.  Although she wasn't crazy about the cherry flavor, it was the first "food" she has had since February.  And she did great!  The therapist said she may be able to eat "honey consistancy" things like yogurt or gravy or watered down pudding if she passes the swallow test on Friday.  Wooohooo!  I may actually get to cook her some gravy instead of feeling guilty as I cook for DeWayne and I and she can only enjoy the smell.  It's time she should get to start tasting it as well. 

We've had the truck thoroughly checked over while we've been temporarily grounded and a new clutch put in.  So it's ready and just sitting in the driveway calling to us to get back on the road.  I'm thrilled to see the gas prices coming back down a little. 

That's about all the news and I'll try to post as often as possible as we start preparing to become nomads once again.  But until then.....