Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Homecoming for Ruth

 I was asked by the nursing home assistant administrator to write something for a brochure they are getting ready to publish.  They wanted a photo, too.  I took one to them that someone took of Mother and me at Valentine's last year.  I don't have a scanner, so I can't put that photo on this post, but here's what I wrote.  I don't know if they will use all, part, or even any of this for their brochure, but..........

Homecoming for Ruth................
***Coming to Tennessee Health Care truly was a homecoming for Mother, Ruth ____.   She was born and raised in ______________, Tennessee,  taught school and worked for the Department of Child Services, and had been active in the Presbyterian Church and the community at large.  Mother “knew everyone” and “everyone knew” her. 
***When I first walked into the facility to evaluate whether it was the right place for her, I saw Karen, Janet, Maria, Gail, Sandra, Brenda, Phyllis, and several other staff members I knew from different times in my life.   The huge smiles and welcoming words of comfort made me know that this was the place for Mother. 
***Mother had been in an assisted living facility for three years, but following  several months of a serious illness and surgery at UT Hospital, she moved into a large nursing home in Knoxville.  We, my brother, sister, cousins, and I, were never happy with the care she was receiving there, but since my brother and sister lived in Knoxville, it seemed the logical place for her to be at the time.  When my sister moved out of state, we decided that, since I was retired and my brother was still working, it made sense for her to be closer to my home, which is in ________________. 
***After researching and visiting every facility between Knoxville and _____________, we came to the conclusion that THC was as good, if not better, than the others. The first time I walked in the door for a tour of the building, etc..... I was greeted with smiles and welcoming from the ladies I mentioned above.  These ladies, along with other staff members whom I met, put me at ease and made me feel that, yes, this was the right place for Mother.  I have to say that our aunt and my husband’s grandfather had been at THC many years before, and at that time, we weren’t so impressed.  Many improvements had been made besides just staff changes.  The cleanliness of the facility was the most apparent change!  There was no “nursing home” smell!  I still don’t know how that is accomplished!
***When Mother moved in, she was surprised by how many of the staff, residents, family and visitors of residents, that she knew.  She was also happy that many of her friends from ___________ were now able to visit her more easily.  She loved the activities such as playing Bingo, getting manicures, visits by the Garden Club, visits by children from church groups, musical programs, the fall festival, and others.  Mother was always a very social person, so these events were important to her.
***However, as time went on, she was less aware of what was going on around her, less able to enjoy the activities, and not able to recognize as many people.  Even though, it became harder for her to communicate her needs and wants, she was still treated with dignity and respect by the staff. 
***There were a few times that my siblings, cousins, or I had questions and concerns about Mother’s care, but each time these were addressed by the administration very quickly.  We felt comfortable talking with all staff members about any issues. 
During Mother’s last night, while my cousin and I sat by her bed, several staff members came by to check on us, bring us food, make sure our needs, as well as Mother’s, were being met.  One CNA even came in to sing to Mother.  After Mother took her last breath, we were treated with utmost respect, care, and love by staff members.  Some even came to Mother’s room and cried with us.
***I would not hesitate to use THC for another relative or even for myself in the future.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sermon Directed At Me

I told our preacher that his sermon was directed straight at me today.  It was about how you shouldn't dwell on the bad stuff in your life, but rather on the good times.  That is exactly what I'm trying to do.  I won't be able to forget this past year, but I am concentrating on remembering things that happened in happier times.   His sermon just added to my belief that this is the best thing for me to do.
I am formulating in my head some things to write about that MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME,  both good and bad.  I will post about these things soon...........
By the way, I am very sad because this was the last Sunday that this preacher will be at our church.  He's moving to Florida.  He was an interim for us, and his contract has run out.  We haven't found a new pastor, yet, so we will have pulpit supplies for a while.  That's okay, though.  I'd rather the Pastor Nominating Committee, which my husband is on, will take their time finding just the right person to fill this position.  Our church is struggling, just as so many others are right now.

Friday, November 12, 2010


The surgery went as planned.  I went down to be with my cousin, as did 3 of her friends, one of her brothers, and her sister and brother-in-law, who drove 10 hours to be here.  It just happened to be the weekend of her b-i-l's fraternity reunion here in TN.  (They only have them about every 10 years, so the fact that it was THIS weekend is, uh..........a real suspicious circumstance, huh?).  It was "a fluke" that my cousin was coming to spend the night with us the night before my mother died, too, hum?????????????
I don't claim to have any answers to these circumstances, but it seems that "fate" was at work in both instances,  to me anyway!
Back to my cousin's husband's surgery.  After cutting an incision from behind his ear to above his eye, they then removed a piece of his skull that was about the size of the palm of a man's hand!  The clot was on the surface of the brain, so there was no probing into the brain, thank God!!!!  The whole process only took about an hour.  He will be in icu for a couple of days so they can keep a close watch on him.  He does seem to be doing well, though. The doctors never have acted concerned.  Of course, it wasn't their, or their loved one's, brains on which they were operating!
While we sat and talked as we waited we remembered events from our childhoods.  We talked about my mom and my aunt, who died at 53 years old.  When she died, my cousin whose husband had the surgery, was a sophomore at UT.  She called the icu waiting room from her dorm room to check on her mother, who had surgery a few days before.  A family member of another patient answered the phone.  When my cousin asked for someone from her family, this "idiot" person told her that they had all left because their loved one had died!  Can you believe that's how my cousin learned of her mother's death!!!!!  Thank goodness for her friends who were with her at the dorm.  Another of  my cousin's was in the Navy at the time.  He was stationed in Iceland, but because his mother was so gravely ill, they let him come home.  Afterwards he was transferred to Georgia.  I was at home with our grandmother.  Our other aunt drove very fast to get home to tell her mother!  There were no cell phones then.  I knew when I saw how quickly she drove into the driveway and jumped out of the car and ran into the house, what had happened.  This was the week that my mom's life really changed.  That's when she moved into her sister's house to be with my two cousins who were still home.  One was 16, the other had just had his 12th birthday.  I can still visualize my 5 cousins standing in the yard between our houses, in a circle, discussing what was to happen with the two youngest siblings.  My oldest cousin lived in PA and had a two year old.  She could have taken the boys, but their lives would have been turned upside down even more than it was already.  My cousin who was in the Navy, could have taken them, but he was only about 22 or 23 at the time.  He wasn't ready for that kind of responsibility.  My cousin who was in college, was, of course, not able to take them.  My grandmother was really too old, she actually died the next year.  My other aunt was considered, I'm sure, but she had never married, didn't have children, and just wasn't the best choice.  So, they decided to ask my mother, who didn't hesitate to agree to move into their house.
I didn't mean to get off on this story when I started this post, but it just came out...................

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Prayers, please

My cousin's husband has a blood clot in his brain that he is having removed on Thursday!  If you are a long time follower of mine, you know that my cousins are much closer to me than normal cousins.   We were pretty much raised as siblings.  This is the cousin who is only 4 months older than I am, so the one I am closest to.  Any way her husband is only 58 years old - my age!!!!!  He has a small, leaking blood clot behind the eye, even with the temple.  They are going to remove it.  He has had an excrutiating head ache since a week ago last Friday, so over a week and a half!  Finally, today, the doctors have decided to DO something about it!  They admitted him to the hospital and gave him morphine for the pain.  He is feeling some better, now.  My cousin is really scared, though.  Please remember them and their two 20 something sons in your prayers.  I will keep you informed.
This is the cousin who spent the night at the nursing home with me the night that my mother died.

The doctors are assuring my cousin that this is not a life threatening problem, but going into the brain cannot be good.  As I said above, please remember him, his wife, and his two sons, and the rest of the family in your prayers.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Mother's Name

My mother's name was Beulah Ruth, which means Heavenly Friend in Hebrew!  I think that is beautiful!  Mother did have many friends, and that was partly because she was such a good friend to others.  I've written before about how she always thought about others before herself.  One of these days I'm going to write about how she thought about everyone else more than her own family at times.  These are humorous stories.