Amazing Day!!

So, my breathing machine had a message on it “Attention, motor has exceeded limit.” So, I call the VA Sleep Clinic when they open at 8 am.   They get me in TODAY and I get a new machine and a tiny mask to fit my little nose.  OMG it is the smallest one they have for a child and is perfect for me and doesn’t really bother my Trigeminal Nerve like the other ones do.  YEAH!!!  God is good!

I get up at 6:30 am and let the dogs out and wait for the clinic to open.  Well, I log onto FB to post on my church FB page the daily scripture and prayer and after 8 months of praying for my guy to get a better job or at least one where he isn’t traveling as much and LOW & BEHOLD, HE DID!  I freaked out!!

HALLELUJAH!!!!  First step in God’s master plan.  Oh how sweet it is.  I have been on cloud nine ever since.  I tell you, Our God is faithful to those who are faithful and true to him.

Each night, I include in my prayers that God put a protective hedge around my guy, keeping him safe from any harm while traveling to and from work.  I ask God to heal his body, mind, spirit, soul and heart.  I ask God to keep his family safe so that he has no worries for them while he is traveling.  I ask that he meet with Godly people who will keep his eyes focused on the Lord.  I ask God to protect his job or get him one that doesn’t require him to travel and work so many hours.  To let him get enough sleep and rest.  And lastly, I ask God to write our love story so that it is truly beautiful. 

I’m actually giddy to see what He has in store for us!!!!!  I can’t even imagine.  All I know is that God let me know that it will involve a phone call from him to me.  When?  No clue.  How?  No clue.  All I know is that I will at some time in the future.

Knowing, beyond a doubt, that he is going to be mine is a thrill in itself.  I will continue to pray for him, for us and as usual for anyone who is in need.  Pray Until Something Happens.

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And the day came….

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The above quote has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  It is a quote that captured my soul from the first time I heard it.  I do not know why; but it has always given me strength when debating a risk in life.

I have suffered debilitating shyness, anxiety and depression over things I have had no control over and at one time, I let it rule my entire life.  NO MORE!  I’ve needed and used this quote to get me through so many things that come naturally to some people.

Suffering through PTSD is hard.  Coming to terms with it was a challenge.  The first time I was in counseling, my therapist worked with me on being raped in the Marine Corp.   Shortly after I had surgery and was on large amounts of narcotics for the pain, my roommate got a phone call in the lounge and left me, asleep, in our room with some guy.  He proceeded to assault me and left before she got back.  Despite the fact that I was heavily medicated, I was able to get up, stumble to the duty officer and report the incident.  I was taken to the clinic and things moved forward.

What I didn’t expect was that the SgtMaj would blame me for the whole thing.  Standing in front of his desk, he proceeded to tell me that had I not been asleep, on drugs and let a man in my room, I would not have been assaulted at all.  He didn’t care that my roommate was the one responsible for creating the situation, he blamed me for not being in my right mind at the time of the incident.

The Court Martial was a joke.  The SgtMaj tainted those who were there and I was basically further humiliated by a man who thought women in the military were only there to slake the lust of the men.  So glad he retired shortly there after.  He was not a man, he was a coward.

For years, I carried this around in my heart, letting it make me sick.  It nearly destroyed me; but I was finally able to overcome it all when I completed 2 years of therapy.  I was able to forgive them all.  My roommate, the SgtMaj & the rapist, not for them; but for me.

I was to the point in my life that I was living in fear.  If I got separated from someone I was out with and could not find them, I’d have a panic attack.  I went from zero to 100 in rage in less than 10 seconds.  My life was out of control.  I needed help.  I am grateful that I found someone who knew how to help me and was able to do so.

My second time in counseling was after my husband tried to kill me.  I am grateful for the therapist who helped me get through the horrible domestic violence, which was close to bringing me back to the darkness.  I was also lucky that my son also received help at the same time, as he was a witness to the events.

June will mark 8 years since I broke free of a 14 year lie.  From October 2009, I spent 2 years in therapy for all that he did to me and I was able to breath again.  This may sound cold and callus; but when my ex died in October 2016, it was such a relief for me and my son.

I was not allowed in session with my son as he went through his own trial with domestic violence; but I was given a report of the abuses he suffered.  I am so glad he was also able to overcome what he experienced.  I never once influenced him.  He began by telling me about what was going on behind my back and I knew if I needed therapy, so did he.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this wonderful quote.  It keeps me going, it reminds me that life is a risk worth taking.  It brings a smile to my face and pushes me to be brave.

Goodbye’s the saddest word…..

On Saturday, September 3, 2016, @ 8:15 am, I said goodbye to my best friend.

The call came in at 6:06 am; but I slept right through it.  I’d spent the last few days going back and forth to Hospice House and taking Ian to and from CCHS for school and band.  I was just so tired; but knew I’d not sleep.

I woke up at 7:20 am to my dogs telling me to get up and let them out.  No rest for the wicked.  As it happens, I looked at the answering machine after they came inside and saw that glowing green #1 and knew.  I listened to the message and called back right away.  It was then I was told he was going fast.  I hurriedly dressed and drove there.

The nurse hung up with me and went to Leif’s room and told him to hang on, I was on the way.  I arrived at 7:50 am.  I caressed his head and held his hand.  I kissed him and sang to him.  I prayed with him and I told him it was okay to let go and be with our Heavenly Father.  I told him I loved him and I felt his hand spasm and then he was gone.  I continue to sit with him, not wanting to let go.  The nurse came in at 8:27 and I told her he was gone.  She retrieved the doctor and it was official at 8:30.

The social worker came.  She had a blue vase with gorgeous bouquet of sunflowers (my favorites) with her, a sign, I am sure, that he was telling me it was okay.  He was okay.  I shared some funny and sweet stories with the social worker, nurses and staff members.  They came in to make him “presentable” and I wandered off to the chapel to pray.

I told our Father to take care of him.  To hold him close and show him the “ropes”.  I told him I’d be there to meet him and to enjoy the time he’ll spent with his two daughters.  His life here was so hard, so unfair, so tragic; but now, he’s in heaven and has his new body and can be with those who will only show him love.

Arrangement had to be made and decisions I wasn’t ready for; but had to make.  Pastor Larry at Hope prayed with me, spoke with me and reminded me that God is my strength and my comfort.

He was so cold.

My comfort also comes from knowing Leif is finally at peace.  He is no longer hurting.  His soul is renewed in love and that one day we will meet again.  I will miss this great, big, gentle giant who loved me more than anything in the world.  I will see you again, my Cota Bear.

On Sunday, I went to make and finalize arrangements for his cremation.  I ordered his urn.  Papers signed, notifications made, tears flowed.

Leif was my hero.  My knight in tarnished armor.  The one who kept me grounded to this earth and the one who helped me soar.  He would catch me every time I fell. We fought as fiercely as we loved and laughed even harder than that.  He was my best friend, my fiercest competitor and my champion.

Cota Bear, I will miss you and love you until my dying day, when we will meet again.

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Two Months

Two Months

It’s been two months since my friend entered went to the ER and nearly died. Hope Hospice has been a great assist in caring for him at home. It’s been a hard two months; but we’re making it. Officially sober since May 11th and out of the woods from withdrawal. There is hope.

End stage Liver disease is a horrible way to die. I have to sit by and watch the breakdown of a life. As he drifts off to sleep, he mumbles and his hands flail about animatedly. He has no idea. He calls out, he sometimes knocks things over.

He hallucinates all the time. Don’t get me wrong, he has times of lucidity; but he still sees things and gets confused. Sometimes I have to “poke” the images he sees to show him that he is seeing things. He was convinced a man had broken into our home. I had to fake calling the police in order to calm him down. It wasn’t until several days later that I was able to convince him it wasn’t real. Now, he’s told me, when he’s not sure if something is real, he will poke at the image or he’ll close his eyes to see if it will disappear.

He’s up and around now using his walker. He’s lost the water weight (ascites) in his legs and stomach thanks to water pills prescribed by the doctor. He has fallen several times and gotten scraped up; but we’ve gotten him off the ground without additional assistance. Walking around does, however, make his feet and legs sore. We’re hoping that he’ll start physical therapy soon to help.

His appetite has increased at times; but then he will go with only one to two bites of food. He’s taking extra fiber and MoM to help him have BMs. He is, for the most part, in good spirits. I have even been able to take him out to the eye doctor after he broke his glasses and needed a new pair.

He LOVES his CNA. She comes three times a week and gives him a bed bath, puts lotion on him and makes him feel better. He adores her. She’s a great person and I think the world of her, too. He has a nurse who comes once a week and a Social Worker every two weeks.

All things considered, he’s doing very well.

My son went to Jazz Camp at FSU in June and I had to drive him. This left us having to get someone in to stay with my patient. Thankfully, there is a lady from my church who is a retire PA who came over and stayed the two days. She then stayed two days when I went to pick my son up.

My son LOVED the camp, learned new techniques to take back to Jazz band at CCHS and made several new friends. He had a great solo at the Friday evening concert combos (4 songs) and played in two pieces on Saturday afternoon. He did a great job and I am so proud of him.

This coming weekend, we’re heading down to Hollywood Hills HS for an Indoor Drumline workshop with Stryker, a semi-professional Drumline. It’s only one day and he is so looking forward to the opportunity to sharpen his drumming skills.

This summer has been so good for him. The last week of July is band camp and I know he is looking forward to that as well. My son impresses the heck out of me. He’s so dedicated to his music and I am so proud of his dedication and skill. I love the stuffing out of that kid.

Between the two of these guys, I am have seen such incredible progress and couldn’t be prouder of them. What a great summer so far.

The Fallen

I just finished watching an episode of NCIS: LA about a man who was under investigation for “espionage”. He was accessing classified documents and in the end, we found out that what he was really doing was making a tribute to all the brave men & women who died in service to their country in Secret Operations. A tribute to those who gave their lives for me and you!

This brought up memories of another story I know. A true story about an Air Force woman during the Korean War. She was a very good friend of mine for the first 10 years after I left the USMC. Together, we stormed the VA for better treatment, respect for women and better services for all.

JP enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War. She worked in communication and was on the line each day reading all the communication messages that came in listing those who were wounded, missing or killed. JP, being the sensitive and caring person she is, cried for each and every man and woman listed. She later was diagnosed with an ulcer over her worry and strife.

She later married her USAF sweetheart, had three children and became a crusader for veterans with the American Legion. What an honor and privilege to have known her. I carry her in my heart, like the other women veteran’s I have known and love. She’s a wonderful, wonderful person.

Together, we were lucky enough to have gone to the dedication of the Women In Military Service for America (WIMSA) in Washington, D.C. in 2007. We put together a charter bus with 3 buses to go of Women Vets and their loved ones. What a beautiful adventure that was.

JP & I traveled the state of NY, meeting other Women Vets and championing our cause. Twenty plus years ago, Women did not have the kind of care necessary within the system. I remember my first time at the VAMC where the doctor, after spending more than 5 hours to see him, decided that my pain was secondary to my mental health. My pain was (on a scale of 1 – 10) at a 20 and I was on verge of vomiting, when he decided I was depressed and needed to see a shrink. It was a hard start for me. I went to their mental facility only to be given a “pat down” by two male guards and put into a state of distress. To say the VA was women friendly was a joke. I did later report the incident to the head of the hospital; but the lasting effects were hard on me.

Anyway, we had a number of women who met together and made plans, implemented changes and helped to make the VA more women friendly than it ever was. At the time I entered, you couldn’t get much in the way of women’s services. Mammograms, Paps, etc. were not the standard. Oh and we also made sure that men and women were given gowns to wear during exams, which at our hospital was unheard of. Anyway, I am grateful to my dear friend, who has a heart of gold and a beauty that is rare. Still great love for her and her family. ❤