Preview of “My Father’s Keeper”

My Father's Keeper.jpg

CHAPTER ONE

The Accident

I got a panicked call from my Father. That was the day that everything changed. I rushed up to the hospital, not knowing what to expect. He was not making sense.
“Your father is ok, sir,” the police officer assured me on the other end of the phone.
On my end of the phone was an awful silence, the likes of which I have never known.

“Sir, sir? Are you there?”
“Yes, Yes. I’m here. Just give me a few minutes.”
“Yes, I understand. This is a lot to process. Your Father will be waiting in the lobby of the E.R.”

I didn’t have time to respond. I didn’t have time to be angry at the police officers, and staff that attended to my father. All I knew was he was scared and panicked, and I had to reach him quickly. Two of my parents had been to the hospital this week and it was almost more than I could handle. I changed out of my work clothes, and scurried out the door.

*****

The hospital staff was less than friendly when I arrived. They offered no help or support for my ailing father.
“What do you mean? You can’t help him.”
“Sir, we can not keep him here. He will have to go home with you.”

The police officer explained to me that his license was taken away from him and he would no longer be able to drive anymore. The officer and the hospital staff, would not admit him to the hospital or transfer him to a long term care facility. Apparently, they did not see the danger in leaving him alone unattended, for a period of time, while I was at work.

I had just learned, unfortunately that Dementia can be unpredictable, and my Dad’s Dementia had just gotten a heck of a lot worse. It was no longer safe for him to be alone. My Brother, Sister and I worked out a schedule, so someone was able to check on him every couple of hours. At least that was the plan.

“Dad, I’m gonna take you home” I said.
“But Earl, what has happened… why am I here… where is Cindy?”
“Dad, Cindy is here in the hospital. She fell and broke a hip. Right now, we need to get you home safely.”
“I can drive myself. Give me my keys Earl,” my father said, getting slightly agitated.
“Dad, I can’t?”
“Why not?”
“Don’t you remember your car was totaled. There was an accident. You fractured your shoulder in the accident. That is why it is in a sling.”
“No I did not,” my Father said trying to pull his arm out of the sling. “Ouch, Dammit! That hurts,” my Father said.

Even with the additional pain, he still didn’t realize that his arm was hurt. I could not keep the sling on his arm at all. Dad would just remove it every time I put it back on.

“Come on Dad. Let’s get you out of here, and get you a bite of food to eat.”
“Ok, he said. I forgot to eat. I haven’t eaten in three days.”

I grabbed my father’s walker, and reminded him to use it, guiding him to the door of the E.R. While he was focused on walking. I silently, cried, behind him. I wish I would have known, what a difference a day makes, in the life of a Dementia patient.

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8 a.m. Coffee

My Son has started school an interesting and unique journey -and I- a journey of my own.

8a.m.- I start it with a fresh cup of steaming, hot joe from Starbucks.

As I sit and wait for my computer to update I think of how much technology has advanced and changed, and how I find it so very irritating that it takes forever for windows to update, and right now. I wish I would have thought to bring my trusty yellow notepad, and pen because sometimes technology can be so unreliable.

I think of the world’s coffee houses and how many dreams, have lived. How many dreams have been born and died here.

I take some comfort in knowing, that much coffee has been drunk, many late nights and early mornings have been spent in coffee houses around the world, by many different people from all walks of life. Trying to spin ideas, and make new things-much like this piece of technology that sits in front of me.

The world is full of ideas. Ideas are the windows to the soul. All of these things were created by people like you and me. The dreamers. The 8a.m. Coffee drinkers.

Perhaps this is the start of a new adventure, and hopefully in a few weeks the completion of a new book.

New Adventures

My Son has started pre-school this year. A new adventure for both him, and myself. It is so exciting to hear him talk about all the friends he is making, and new things he is learning.

It is also eerily quiet. It is an odd feeling.

I find I now have extra time to write. Which means that I will be working on more blog posts. I also hope to be a guest blogger more frequently, and be able to contribute to the many communities of people on line, as well as read what you all have to share with the world.

I am also working on a new and exciting book. I hope it turns out better than the last one I self-published. I will be seeking and agent and a publisher for this one. (I actually pulled that book, because it did so poorly. I will fill you in on everything I learned with my self-publishing experience in another blog post.)

The book I am working on is a fiction book about a families struggle with dementia. I would like it to be written from several different perspectives. The Dementia Patient, The Family, and the Caregivers. It is inspired by my Grandfather, and the many other Dementia patients that I have had the pleasure of caring for over the years. I will be sharing a preview of the first chapter later.

I will also have more time to focus on writing short stories for all of you, as well as writing more short stories for my Son, which I love to also illustrate. Although, I am by no means a great artist.

I also hope to continue to do inspirational posts about writing, and about my faith.

The heresy of worshiptainment

Love this! This is why I love to journal in my bible. It is my quiet time where I get to study the word.

Mike Livingstone

The great heresy of the church today is that we think we’re in the entertainment business. A.W. Tozer believed this to be true back in the 1950s and 60s. Church members “want to be entertained while they are edified.” He said that in 1962. Tozer grieved, even then, that it was “scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction was God.”*

More recently, David Platt has asked: “What if we take away the cool music and the cushioned chairs? What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer decorated? What if the air conditioning is off and the comforts are removed? Would His Word still be enough for his people to come together?” (Radical)

Would it be enough?

Tozer got it right: “Heresy of method may be as deadly as heresy of message.”

HALLOWEDNESS, NOT SHALLOWNESS

Like Tozer, we…

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Celebrating Life’s Small Triumphs

I sit here righting this, at 4 a.m. in the morning because the dizziness has subsided. Last night it was so bad, I felt like I was going to pass out. The room began vibrating back and forth and it was like I was on a bad rollercoaster, one I couldn’t get off of.

The days that I have when I feel well are becoming less. There are days I can’t drive, because my vision is affected.

I am thankful for the good days I have, and I hope today will be a good day. I have had no dizziness yet, so I am up at 4 a.m. getting everything I can get done, while it lasts.

I am embarrassed to say that I have been so dizzy, I have been unable to clean my house. I usually clean it daily. I have been unable to clean it for a whole week. So I am cleaning it from top to bottom while I can.

Things like washing your hair became less important. The dizziness gets worse with neck extension, and I get tingling sensations along my spine. (Because of this Dry Shampoo has been my best friend) I have to take cool baths, because the dizziness and coordination get worse with heat and humidity. It has been so hot I have had to stay inside, and two days ago my Son and I spent all day outside. I paid for it for the next two days.

I am an active person, and I love spending time outside. I think that there is no better cure for illness, then spending time outside in nature. It’s been killing me the last few days, because I have had to limit my outdoor activity.

Thankfully Sunday, and Monday where good days this week. I am happy because they were some of the best days I have had in months. I didn’t feel dizzy at all. I took full advantage of that.

Sunday we celebrated my Brother’s birthday. My Brother and I played outside with my son, while my Mom, Dad, and Husband sat inside talking. We chased my Son around, swinging, and sliding down the slide with my son -the same playset my Brother and I played on as children.-

We gave my Son wheelbarrow rides, and chased him around the field, and then my Brother gave me a wheelbarrow ride. I thought for sure the wheelbarrow would break under my weight, but my Brother assured me it would be fine, daring me to get in. I screamed the whole time. I kept feeling like I was going to tip out. At the end of the ride, the wheelbarrow did tip over and I fell on backwards and landed on my butt, feet sticking up in the air and everything. My Brother and I where laughing hysterically.

My Son, was saying “Stop Mommy, Its my turn.” So after we were done laughing, my Son got a ride back to the house, from his “Funny Uncle.”

It was a good day, and I am so happy I was not sick when we celebrated my Brother’s Birthday.

Monday was a good day too. I had a Doctors appointment. After the appointment My Son and I went to see his favorite train and Caboose at the Historic Depot, it the township we live in. We spent a good part of the day at the park and he rode his bike around town. It was hot though, and Tues, Wends, and Thursday were bad days. I should have known better, but I love spending time outside.

I may look healthy on the outside, but I have an invisible illness, that I have had since 2015. The most frustrating aspects of this have been the misdiagnosis that I have received and been treated for with little to no results.

I have an MRI of my spine next week, to look for any abnormalities on my spinal cord, and I am going to be seeing a neurologist again. In August I start Physical Therapy again.  I hope to have some answers soon.

For all of those with chronic illnesses, that struggle daily. Just know that you are not alone. I have to take each day as it comes for now. That’s all I can do.

Today has been a good day, I am thankful for that. Now back to cleaning my house that I have neglected for a week, because I have to take the good days as they come.

Twin Peaks Fans- Get out those golden shovels!

Twin Peaks Fans, get out your Golden Shovels!

If any of you know me, I am a huge Twin Peaks, and by default a David Lynch fan… and wow. The more I watch, the better and better it gets. I love the pop culture references, and I couldn’t help but think, doesn’t Dr. Jacoby seem a lot like Alex Jones?

My Mother and I sat on the couch, laughing and crying at the misfortune that befell Dr. Jacoby. When he brought out his flashlight, and started talking about conspiracy theories, we both lost it.

The golden shovel, to shovel your way out of the shit topped the cake.

I think besides the third episode, and Coop hitting the jackpot and saying… “HELL-OOo-ooo!” was by far one of the funniest things I have seen in a while.

I can not wait to see if Agent Cooper regains his memory, and to see what happens to the “Evil” Cooper.

If you have not already, check the series out, and Mark Frosts book… “The Secret History of Twin Peaks,” to refresh or catch up on the old series! Don’t forget to grab your golden shovels!

What do you think of the new Twin Peaks series so far?

Blog Update…

I am going to regular be contributing to a blog that I encourage you to check out. You can find it here at:
http://writertowriters.com

Here you can find posts to inspire your creativity as well as tips to improve your writing. I look forward to continuing to write on my personal blog. As always I am looking for ways to expand and improve my writing in different disciplines.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Problem With College..

Going back to college as an adult is not an easy thing. Calling the perspective colleges you are looking to attend, making sure that the credits will transfer. Making sure they got your transcripts. Then trying to get through to the financial aid office to make sure you have all the documents you need. It is also frustrating trying to get a hold of the people in different departments, waiting on hold for hours.

You begin to feel discouraged, and question why you even are wasting your time at these colleges. Feeling frustrated and defeated you wonder why you even wanted to go back in the first place, because no one seemed to care that you wanted to invest in yourself anyways.

I reminded of what I wrote yesterday, and what my Grandfather told me. You have to jump through hoops to get where you are going in life. Hours spent on the phone on hold so I can ask the financial aide officer three simple questions. An hour and a half and three people later trying to find out what happened to my transcripts.
At the end of the day feeling defeated, and like just another number. Just another student at a college.

Perhaps this is why I got frustrated with community colleges in the first place.

Calling private Universities however was a different experience. I did not have to wait on hold for hours. To them it seemed as if I wasn’t a number.

Then I remember the reasons I got frustrated when I was attending a community college in the first place. The large class sizes. The availability of the professor. It was hard to set meet with them during office hours, especially if other students already had appointments.

Perhaps college is a stale institution that needs to change along with the rest of the world. Times have changed. You have to work, sometimes before you graduate, to pay your bills. It is hard to make time for college when the institution itself seems to care very little about the economy and inflation.

We are privileged to live in the information age, where virtually anything is available with the click of a mouse. We have libraries, in which we can immerse ourselves with knowledge.

Many of life’s most important lessons, I learned outside of the classroom.

The one tough lesson I learned in college though was, don’t go unless all tuition is covered without loans.

That is a mistake I will not make again.

Someday when I grow up…

Think back to when you were young…

One of the biggest questions everyone asked was what do you want to be? Pretty big question. But if you were like me, you had an answer to everything back then, didn’t you?

I remember in first grade I knew that answer. I wanted to be a writer. The first piece I ever wrote was a play on several 3 by 5 index cards. It was littered with spelling, grammatical errors, and incomplete sentences. In my eyes however, it was a masterpiece. It sat in a box, tucked in one of my favorite childhood books until we moved, and my Mom gave them to me.

Reading the note cards provided my Husband and I with much entertainment , and by the third card, we were laughing so hard we were crying. Thankfully, my writing skills have improved since then!

Life happens, people grow up. Instead of getting happy, people’s opinions get in the way, and then we hope to get lucky.

Get lucky, and get that promotion. Hope to get a good paying job with benefits. Work for a company that offers a good retirement plan, and if we are lucky, retire by the time we are sixty. That is, if -and that is a big if- we are lucky.

Then life happens. That promotion we were hoping to get, it doesn’t work out. Our luck has not been too good. Times are tough, and with Obama Care in place,  that benefits package the company you work for is increased by $200 bucks a month. You can barley afford to pay your bills, and you will never be able to retire at this rate. Then all that labor you have done for years finally catches up. You get a chronic condition, and that job that you used to be able to do, you can no longer do. You are forced into an entry level job. With no hope of retirement at all.

You are forced to do something for yourself and you family. You come back to the only thing you know how to do.

Write. So you begin writing. The only thing in life that gives you purpose, besides being a Wife and a Mother.

Then you remember the day you grew up. The day that people told you, being an English and or Creative writing major would never make you any money. The day your dreams were crushed. The day they died.

The day I looked into my Sons eyes, was the day I was born. Then I got happy. Not just lucky. I felt the need to write. It hasn’t stopped since. I write stories and poems, for my Son, and he asks me to read them to him. He reminds me daily to get happy, not just lucky. It all made sense. The reason I was here, what life is all about.

Life isn’t about being lucky. It’s about getting happy.

When I ask my Son what he wants to do when he grows up, I am gonna tell him the same thing my Grandfather did, “Do what makes, you happy. Not what makes you the most money.”

I keep thinking about the conversation my Grandfather had with me before nursing school. I wish he was here to talk to me and support me now. He was good at listening. I think he knew me better than I knew myself.

I can’t help thinking about the advice he gave me, and about how he said I would struggle and have to jump through a lot of hoops in my life to get where I was going. He was so right. Right about everything.

I’ve already jumped about through half of them.

Driving in the same car that he used to drive, on the way to the college campus, I started talking to him, asking for his guidance. I just wish I could take one last drive with him.

If he was to ask me today what I wanted to do when I went to college, my answer would no longer be, ‘Making a decent living,” but “living a life of happiness doing what I love with the people I love.”

 

 

 

Portrait of a Young Girl

Sophia’s long red hair whipped around wildly as the wind rustled through the leaves of the large willow tree that sat on her parents property. She walked to her favorite spot, behind the old barn.

Sitting down on the piece of sandstone that framed the old well, she noticed the piece of cement that coved the hole was crumbling. Several small stones that had been embedded int the cement, were sitting on the sandstone. A rather moderately sized hole was left, from the crumbling rock. Most likely, you could fit your hand in the hole , but for Sophia that purpose was not intended. Picking up a stone she twirled it between her thumb and index fingers. She looked at it for a moment, and released it. Then she waited, hoping that satisfying sound of the rock hitting the water would travel back to her ears -and there it was- Kerr.. plunk..

She continued to twirl more rocks, releasing them from between her fingers, pretending they were her dreams. Slowly slipping away from her, but just within her grasp. So close, that perhaps she could reach out and grab them. However, that was not to be