Monday, May 30, 2011


My family had planned to take me back to Louisiana for a couple of weeks right after the funeral. I was gonna help my son sail his newly purchased sailboat from Destin, FL to New Orleans, which we all thought would be good for me. But at the very last minute before leaving I declined. The last six months, especially Paul’s last 2 weeks here with me, followed by the frenzied week of funeral arrangements, have taken its toll. Total extreme exhaustion. I just wanted to be still and quiet. Me and Rocky. I asked them all to just go back to their busy lives and “love me alone” for a bit. Thankfully they understood and two days after the funeral everyone was gone.

It’s Saturday, quiet, peaceful. So I rest, cry, nap, pray. Walk around the house in a daze, unaware of why I opened the refrigerator, what am I looking for in there? Oh, yeah, creamer for my coffee. Rocky needs to go outside, we go. Later I wonder why the creamer is on the counter. Oh yeah, for the coffee, but it’s cold now. An hour later I find the mug still in the microwave, cold again. I’m spinning in circles, can’t seem to do anything. When I’m awake I’m flitting around the house, restless, fidgety. Looking for anything to do. Clean something! I open his dresser drawer thinking I could start the inevitable process. Nope. Slam it shut. Can’t do that now, might not ever be able to do that. Is this what grieving is? Guess so.

Feels like a panic attack!! I need focus. Distraction. My brain begins thinking of our RV dreams. Oh, that feels good! I get tunnel vision thoughts about RVing. Heart races but in a good feeling way. I remember that right after the tumor diagnosis I had trashed “all” the RV paper stuff and deleted all RV bookmarks and favorites in both of our computers-----I was so angry then.

But wait…in a few months this lease will be up and I’ll have to move “somewhere”. Why not into an RV? Afterall, I had discussed this with my brother and my kids during “funeral week” knowing at the time that I was probably just ranting out of my mind. But, was I? Could I really do it by myself? Pulse is racing. Adrenalin is pumping me higher. I’m excited! Feel happy. That’s a new feeling. I “escape” back into our dream.

So late Saturday night I Google the old RV forum we used to follow; find it, [], sign in, and post this:

Post subject: Should I give up my dream?
It's been a long time since my last post on this forum, or on any forum. It was on Sept. 17, 2010 entitled "Tomato juice changed my font size?" I just read it again and it felt so good to laugh out loud at all of your humorous responses! You're a terrific group of strangers!

Back then in Sept. 2010 my hubby Paul and I had already spent almost 2 years planning our retirement for a full-time RV lifestyle, collecting info on our dream RV---a 2010 Allegro Bus 43 QGP. Our plans were that as soon as our house sold we would both immediately retire from Continental Airlines and hit the road. Well, on Nov. 15, 2010 (6 months ago) our retirement dreams were shattered when Paul was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, followed one week later (on his 60th birthday) with a massive stroke. Ironically, our home sold 2 days after I brought him home from the first hospitalization. I moved us into a leased house nearer the Houston medical facilities where he went thru chemo, radiation, and numerous complications. Then finally 2 months ago Hospice Care entered our lives. I'm so glad that I was able to keep him at home with me the whole time.

Today is Saturday. I buried my precious Paul only 2 days ago in the Houston National Cemetery with full military honors after serving 31 years. He is now in heaven with his only child, Eric, who was killed in Afghanistan 3 summers ago. It's finally very quiet here tonight; now that the funeral is behind us, and both of our families have gone home to their busy lives.

A sad story, I know. But crazy as it must seem to even perfect strangers, I still want to live "our" dream. Paul never wanted me to give it up, and worried himself sick wondering if he should encourage me or not. Naturally, when we got the diagnosis, I trashed our RV dreams immediately to focus on him.

I know I'm probably still in shock right now. But luckily I do have about 6 months before I will be forced to make some firm decisions. My 3 children with 9 grandkids, along with numerous other family members (his and mine) and lots of friends are scattered from coast to coast. They know me, (I am sort of spunky) and are all telling me to "Go for it!, It was your dream too!" My only brother has offered to install a concrete RV pad with septic, electric, and water on some property that our father left us near my hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana, so I would always have a sort of home base to go to very near lots of family. So I do have my family's support, but NONE of them know anything about RV'ing!!

I just need some input from folks who are living the lifestyle. Should I just quit the dream? Should I continue to gather info on, of course, a smaller, cheaper, and easier to handle model by Tiffin? And if so, which model? Can a 59 year old single (although "spunky") woman with a small 3 year old Havanese dog who is now my "grief therapy device" do this?


P.S. A couple of months ago I needed an outlet so I created a blog titled "Abundant Blessings Found In Shattered Dreams". Here's the link (if you're bored):

In no time the next day I got about 30 responses: “Go For It!” Along with lots of good advice. I was pumped!!
So late Sunday night, I posted back, all excited, adrenalin flowing:

I am truly overwhelmed. Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. Some of you posted excellent points and questions that I do need to consider. Here's a bit more info that may help YOU to guide me.

I've been a flight attendant for the last 20 years (so I love traveling), and prior to that was a firefighter/EMT in Rio Rancho, NM (near Albuquerque) where I drove fire trucks and ambulances for years. So I'm not afraid of a big rig and probably would have arm-wrestled Paul to get my turn at the wheel!! In fact we have rented RV's and I drove almost as much as Paul. Being a 737 pilot and a Navy jet instructor, at first Paul "nonchalantly hovered" close by whenever I was at the wheel. He soon relaxed and was very proud of me. That felt so good coming from him! He was my hero and my biggest fan. The only thing that terrifies me are toll booths. I always gave him the wheel then, and still kept my eyes squeezed shut while he drove thru with such calm confidence. He was always so very cautious and would handle any situation with such capable and amazing focus. And he never ever displayed that well known "pilot-ego". (He used to always tell new acquaintances that he was just a "heavy equipment operator"! He was just that kind of guy.) So I gotta work on "tollbooths" or maybe just totally avoid them with my GPS. "Check lists"--- Haha, Paul laminated them! "Toad"---Now driving a Toyota Sienna van---we knew we'd have to trade it for an appropriate "toad". He had been researching toads---wish he had told me which one he wanted. "Tools"---I was the mechanic! He could fly fighter jets and commercial airplanes but used to joke that he didn't know the difference between a phillips or regular screwdriver! I think he just said that to make me feel good. Before we had met, when I was 40, freshly divorced, and just beginning my career as a flight attendant I bought a small sailboat that I lived on full-time and sailed and maintained it alone for 3 years. So I'm accustomed to "small" living. The Tiffin Breeze is just too small for me as I hope I'll often have friends or family joining me. But I won't let being solo stop me from going anywhere once I'm confident. And I don't want to have to "trade-up" later, too costly and a hassle. We'd been doing a LOT of research and forum-lurking. So...flat tire, stranded, engine CoachNet. [Time for a break from typing and maybe a nap.]

I just re-read this post for proofing and got this real sad feeling about the whole idea.
It wasn't just my dream, it was OUR dream. One minute I get all excited about the prospect and then the next minute I'm hit with the true reality that Paul won't be there with me. And my excitement collapses. He's gone. I shouldn't be thinking about this right now. It's too soon. Maybe my mind is doing this to escape the grief, even momentarily. But then reality pokes my brain and stabs my heart. Slow down, Carleen, take it easy. Don't let this dream become a "mental detour" from the grief and pain. I just find my mind flitting around in circles, like I'm going crazy or something. He's REALLY REALLY gone and NEVER EVER coming back. And I can't run away from that. This is a roller coaster. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow.


So now it’s Monday afternoon. I’m waiting for tomorrow. And this day is only half over. Wish I could fast-forward about 6 months. So tired. Think I’ll take a nap.


The Funeral, May 26, 2010

A few photos of the funeral.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Paul Hunter Terhune

Commander Paul Hunter Terhune, United States Navy Reserves, of Conroe, Texas died peacefully on Saturday, May 21, 2011, at his home in Conroe, Texas.  He is survived by his beloved wife, Carleen Marks Terhune, his parents, Daniel and Joy Terhune, of Lexington, Kentucky and his brother, Dr. David (Dorothy) Terhune, nieces Summer (Oliver) Jeromin, Kendall (Richard) Colquitt, and Rebecca Joy Terhune and his nephew David Terhune, Jr., and five great nieces and nephews.   He is also survived by three stepchildren, Christa White, Brady (Michelle) White, and Benjamin (Shawna) White, and 9 step- grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his only son, Captain Eric Daniel Terhune, a Marine helicopter pilot who was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 19, 2008.  Captain Eric Terhune had previously served two tours of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He served honorably for more than 10 years of active duty service to County and Corps.

Commander Paul Terhune was born in Brownwood, Texas on November 23, 1950.  He grew up in Kentucky and attended Wheaton Academy in Wheaton, Illinois and graduated from Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Florida.   He received a BA degree in History from Western Kentucky University, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps upon graduation.  He then earned his Navy wings at Pensacola, Florida.  His career as a military pilot spanned 31 years before retiring from the Naval Reserve.

Commander Terhune spent two years in Okinawa early in his career and is one of the few airmen who served in all three sea services, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and the Navy.  His citations include and reflect his patriotism.

His career apart from the military was with Continental Airlines for 23 years from which he retired on November 23, 2010.  

Burial services will be held for Commander Terhune on Thursday May 26th at 10 am at the American Heritage Funeral Home, 10710 Veterans Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77038, (281) 445-0050.  Visitation will be held Wednesday, May 25th from 5-8pm.   Friends are invited to join the family at a reception honoring Commander Terhune at Landry’s Seafood, 1212 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, Texas, 77380, immediately following the services.

Paul Is Flying With The Angels Now

I feel empty of words.  The best I can do right now is just plainly present the information about the services to honor Paul's life.

Wednesday, May 25, Visitation 5:00-8:00pm at the funeral home.
Thursday, May 26, Service at 10:00am, Burial at Houston National Cemetary 11:30am (across the street from funeral home)

          American Heritage Funeral Home
          10710 Veterans Memorial Drive
          Houston, TX 77038

Immediately following the service and burial a reception will be held at:
          Landry's Seafood Restaurant
          1212 Lake Robbins Drive
          The Woodlands, TX 77380

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All Is In God's Hands, Always Has Been

It's Tuesday, May 17, 9:52p.m.

I have no idea how to write this post.  There's no "sample template" available to help me even just begin to write.  It's the second most unpleasant post I could ever imagine composing, with the #1 most unpleasant post being the one I'll have to send when Paul finally joins Eric in heaven.

........Geesh, I've just been sitting here for a long long time now just looking at this page......It's blank, I'm blank.......  

Ahhhhh, if he could, I can imagine Paul saying, "Yeah, ok, it's tough, so get going!  Do what ya gotta do."

Some of you have said that I write well.  Not this time.  Nope.  I just don't feel clever or smart enough anymore.  So I'll just have to do it.

Paul has quickly become very sick in the last few days.  It started with a little chest congestion and a low-grade fever one night.  Every breath was labored with gurgling sounds.  His blood pressure dropped, and his pulse was 135.  The congestion developed into full blown pneumonia almost overnight.  As of tonight (Tuesday, May 17) it has been three days since he has been able to eat or drink, and the last word I've heard him speak was "No" three days ago when I had asked him if he was hurting.  The first day he slept until 4:00pm without awakening at all.  The congestion was gurgling louder and louder with every breath he had taken during the previous 24 hours.  I could hear the gurgling from the kitchen.  Naturally I'm scared.  Emergency phone call to Elaine, our hospice nurse/angel.  She arrives minutes later, completes her triage.  She makes phone calls.  Within 20 minutes, equipment begins being delivered to our front door:  a nebulizer to ease his breathing, powerful antibiotics are delivered, oxygen tanks, suction machines, medicines...I feel like the troops have arrived and it gives me such hope.  We're doing something!  He's not responding much though.  His fingers are blue.  A foot is swelling big time.  He's in pain, and still gasping.  And Elaine is in total tunnel vision focusing on Paul.  She's stroking his face, massaging his neck, calming him, speaking to him so sweetly, but yet in total control, making him feel her confidence that all is well.  He relaxes visibly.  I'm watching, falling to pieces.  But hopeful.  Very hopeful.  He's tough and strong:  He's a soldier!  We'll pull through this.  I just know we will, but only if we recognize that this strength and hope can only come from God sending His batallion of volunteer angels.

[Hindsight is always so clear.  The night I wrote my previous post (on May 14) where I was crippled by my anger towards God, was just after I had heard Paul's first gurgling breaths.  And I guess now, that I was sensing what was to come in the following days.  I was so frightened that it evolved into anger.]

My son Ben is coming here from Lafayette, LA on Wednesday.  Paul's Mom and Dad will arrive on Thursday.

Round the clock Hospice nurses are available to camp here for the duration.  I have requested their presence only during the daytime hours.

Well, I've just spent so much time sitting here drawing a blank, then typing, then drawing a blank that it is now officially Wednesday, May 18, and it's 12:59 A.M.  And I'm finally tired enough to sleep.

So, the "official" prediction is that if this decline continues Paul has less than a week here with us before he joins Eric in heaven.  But no one has a magic crystal ball.  We all know it's not in our hands.  All we can do is gage our reactions and predictions according to human historical statistics tied to glioblastoma multiforme brain tumors.

This morning I was simply asked, "Do you want Paul to die here at home within the week, or over at Odyssey House?"

Here, at home, where he most longs to be.      

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Don't Wait - Live Your Dreams Now

Oh, oh.  Not having a good day.  Don't worry, Paul is fine.  It's me.  Don't know if I'll post this on my blog or just save it to my personal journal.  Will decide later.  Might not feel brave enough to share this because someone might think I'm not stable or something.  I know there are thousands of other "caregivers" walking a similar path.  Been lurking on a caregiver forum but never posted.  Maybe I should only share this on that forum; they're more likely to understand and less likely to condemn me for feeling this way.  Or maybe honestly sharing my feelings could help someone?  I don't know. 

I don't understand how I can just simply plow ahead through several unremarkable (boring) days or even weeks and then "Bam!" some deep down emotions sneak up and bite down on my heart with such fierce unbearable pain.  It hurts so bad that actually I feel nauseated.  What is this?  Where did it come from?  I was actually having some fun doing the blog, but deep down felt a little guilty because I was enjoying myself.  I was enjoying focusing on whatever I could identify as a blessing from God.  Even tiny ones.  If you scour through your daily moments LOOKING for blessings, you just can't help but find some!  And then you feel so joyful.  And when you share them they become even more joyous.  Then out of the blue, BAM.  Guilt reminds me that Paul isn't having ANY fun.  He just lays there in that bed.  He doesn't seem to show any joy or happiness.  Is that it?  Is it guilt that has bitten me?

It's just that all of a sudden I feel all alone.  I can't seem to find a blessing right now.  Is God that busy?  Even though Paul is right here in bed just a few feet away from me, I'm alone.  Today it's been 6 months since we have had a normal simple conversation like husbands and wives do all the time.  I just want one REAL little chat like we used to have 20-30 times a day.  It's just not the same.  The "we", "us", "couple", has changed.  I need to talk with him, not just play a guessing game to try to fulfill some simple little need he's having at that moment.  When he wants something our communication is all one sided.  Are you thirsty?  Negative head shake.  Are you hungry?  No.  Are you in pain?, No, tired?,cold?,hot?... And I keep trying and trying, still not getting it right.  After a bit BOTH of our frustration levels are soaring.  He can't get what he wants, and I can't figure out what it is.  I would do ANYTHING to please him if I could just figure out what it is.  A helpless feeling.  Then I have to go somewhere so he can't see me cry.  I hate hate hate the tumor, it's an evil thief that is stealing everything meaningful from our lives.  I know the tumor is never going away.  And now I'm angry too.

When I get like this my mind starts spiraling downward out of control.  Sadness is consuming me.  Thinking about the funeral and the emptiness that is sure to follow.  I waited so long to find him!  Life without my very best friend.   It's not fair and I'm really scared.  My heart is pounding, feels like it might burst.  

We had decided to retire early at age 60 so we could start our Happy Golden Years, finally free from years of work.  Time to have some fun.  Is it worth all the turmoil employees will surely go through as Continental merges with United?  Why kill ourselves working another 5 years just to make our portfolio bigger?  Is there some magic $$$ number you should reach in order to retire feeling financially secure?  When is enough "enough"?  Can't we just make what we already have BE enough?  Yes, we can!

Our plan was to get rid of everything, buy an RV, live in it fulltime, and travel.

Then I remember how we've spent the last 2+ years excitedly focused on researching and meticulously planning our retirement lifestyle in an RV.  We put the big house on the market and got rid of most of our furniture and all of the silly knick-knacks that had now become just meaningless "stuff".  As our furniture and stuff were sold we put that money into an envelope labeled "Diesel Fund" to use in an emergency so we'd never be stuck if the price of fuel became an issue.  Then we stashed that envelope in our Bank Safety Deposit box.  Went to several RV shows collecting brochures and information, and had decided we would buy a Tiffin Allegro Bus and retire as soon as the house was sold.  We had such fun planning!  Ordered every RV magazine possible.  Printed out as least two reams of paper explaining all the systems in an RV.  Prematurely joined the "Good Sam" club.  Figured out how we'd get our mail, and pay our bills.  Closely watched the "RV Classifieds".  Scoured the internet and joined several RV forums asking questions and learning about the lifestyle.  Got a DVD of all of the military bases with campgrounds and made a list of which ones we would visit first.  Made lists of places we just couldn't miss.  Made a 2011 calendar of RV group gatherings to attend along our routes.  Connected with new RV couples who were already living our dream with plans to "hook up" with them and travel together someday.  Mapped routes in order to visit family and friends and not miss anything along the way that interested us.  Even totally planned the route that would eventually take us to Alaska and then through Canada.  We were already having fun just planning and we hadn't even left yet!!  It was finally so close, hopefully just a couple more months and we'd be living our dream!!!  (The house had been on the market for 21 months and finally sold 2 days after bringing Paul home from the brain surgery.)  Ironic?

Dreams.  All gone.  In a split second.  Snap your fingers.  Just like that, poof.  Gone.  The instant the doctor said "massive terminal brain tumor".

Wait!  No!  Stop!  This can't be real!  Not now!  Paul already lost his only child Eric way over there in Afghanistan!  This should happen to someone else!  There's got to be some evil person out there who deserves it!  Just NOT HIM! or me!  

OK, that's just the way it is.  Whenever I get this way I don't even want anyone to try to help me "snap out of it".  I just need to feel this pain, till it stops.  I just need to feel this anger, till it stops.  I know eventually it will go away.  It always has before.  Just need to be a little patient and try harder to focus on searching even for the littlest blessing.

"Don't Wait - Live Your Dreams Now"


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Renewed in body and faith!

Wednesday, May 11,  2011

Paul came home yesterday afternoon (Tuesday)!!  We were both thrilled to be together again living what has become our "new normal".  To others our daily lifestyle now might not seem so great, but to us it has its own types of routine which have become very familiar and therefore comforting.  It's the "unknown" that's scary to people.

Rocky and I visited Paul at Odyssey House on Monday.  Rocky feels right at home and just crawls in between Paul's legs and takes a nap!!

The 5 days Paul just spent at Odyssey House were designed to give me a break.  And I did take advantage of that time.  Took morning and afternoon naps, plus slept like a log at night.  Ran a few errands, planted some vegetables for a little "dirt therapy", and got a 1 hour massage.  Spent 4 hours waiting at the car-wash where special chemical stuff along with a bunch of elbow grease removed all of the brown paint splattered on my van.  Good as new!!

Wishing a late Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms!!!  And thank you for the flowers, Ben, Shawna, Noah, and Audrey!

By far though the BEST thing I did for me was to go to Sunday School and church Sunday morning.  I had twice before visited the United Methodist Church of The Woodlands.  Their Pastor of Caring Ministries, Cliff Ritter, had visited us at our home a couple of times, and then had introduced me to a lovely young woman who had once also been a caregiver for her friend who had suffered from a terminal disease and died.  Her name is Michelle Morrow and she has a most loving and caring spirit.  I have leaned heavily on her with emotions that only she can understand, thank you Michelle.  Our new friendship is surely a Blessing from God.  Although we have no close family here in Texas, I could already sense the love and caring of our new church family, so I walked the aisle to become a member of this wonderful fellowship.

I'm learning from many how important it is to take care of myself as well.  Plus, last weeks' recent "near meltdown" that I experienced really scared me.  It's easy to ask for help for Paul, but I feel guilty and selfish asking for me.  So here goes.  I would like the opportunity to go to Sunday school and church service every Sunday.  It would give me a regular break, plus something for me to look forward to each week.  But obviously I can't leave Paul at home alone.  I would be delighted if any of our friends could spare a Sunday morning sitting here at home with Paul while I go to church.  Hopefully several of you will respond so no one person would become "stuck" here "every" Sunday.

We had some visitors today!  MJ Reeder worked on base in Kingsville while Paul flew Navy, and she still lives there.  She dearly loves Paul and I know she is loved not only by Paul but by many of her "other boys" from the Kingsville base.  MJ has been a tremendous help to me in gathering all possible military benefits available for Paul.  I'd have to say she is one spunky little lady!!!  Her old car is 18 years old and would have never made the 10+ hour round trip drive here, so she rented a car.  Bless you, MJ, for bringing such sunlight into our lives.  MJ repeated some old jokes Paul had told her many many years ago!  I think even Paul had forgotten those!  A lotta good giggles (and sniffles) were had by all.  And congratulations on your new grandson!  [MJ is concerned about being able to visit here again, especially for the grand finale...   I'll bet some of her "other boys" from the base who remember her could offer her a ride sometime??  Hint!]

Also visiting today was Bruce Roloff who has known Paul since they were in Okinawa.  They flew together at Continental and in the Marines!  They enjoyed sharing "old lies and war stories"!  I kept hoping to hear of some secret story that Paul might have "conveniently" left out of our conversations when I had long ago asked about how he spent his time in Okinawa.  But no secret scandalous stories were revealed.  You Marines sure do stick together!  Thanks Bruce, for taking the time to visit your buddy.

My brother Mike and his wife Phyllis, from Lafayette, Louisiana came bearing gifts from Cajunland!  Boudin and cracklins!!  A taste of home!  Yummmmmy!!  Thanks again.  

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Paul came home from Odyssey House with a little chest congestion which doesn't seem to be improving, so Elaine has ordered a nebulizer and antibiotics to be delivered this morning.  Hope this helps.

Friday, May 6, 2011


"Strength is born in the deep silence of long suffering hearts, not amidst joy."
Friday, May 6, 2011
Hospice takes care of the whole family, not just the patient.  Odyssey Hospice has a 12 bed nursing facility in Conroe used mostly for those patients who are close to the "end" but don't have family capable of giving the care needed at home.  [That's not Paul's situation as far as I'm concerned.]  But whenever they do have beds available, they offer the at-home caregivers who might be approaching burnout up to 5 days of "Respite Care" per month.  Elaine (our hospice nurse) has offered this to me very often but I have turned it down each time, thinking love and determination will get us through.  Whenever people ask how I'm doing, I think "What's wrong with them, I'm not the one who's dying?"  And sometimes I feel guilty that's it's Paul and not me.  And then that swirls into anger because Paul has already "given" enough, like 31 years in the military, plus his son.  If ever there was a man who doesn't deserve this, it's Paul Hunter Terhune.  

Next week marks the 6th month since the brain tumor diagnosis (on November 15, 2010).  I've been away only once (March 4-9) while Paul was in a rehab hospital, and was worried about him constantly.  But on Wednesday evening I finally HAD to admit that I needed a break.  [Yes, I am stubborn, just ask my family!]  A break being a "caregiver" and even a break from Rocky our dog.  I had nothing left to give.  I called both of our mothers who totally convinced me that I was doing the right thing and that I had the family's complete understanding and support.  So I called Elaine to ask for a "time out"; it was a Blessing that they had an available bed.  I won't go into explaining how very hard this caregiver job is because someone might think I'm complaining.  I am not.  I'll just say it was necessary that I get a few days off or foolishly end up needing care myself.  

So on Thursday I followed an ambulance, again.  I used to drive ambulances, not follow them crying.

After getting Paul situated I drove "Rocky" to the kennel for boarding.  (Will pick him up right before Paul gets transported home.)  Went straight home and slept the rest of Thursday.  When I woke up the guilt was almost overwhelming.  (Guilt is evil.)  I know how Paul hates those hospital-type environments.  Felt like I had abandoned ship.  Felt like I had abandoned Paul.  Was really questioning my decision.  Even though my logical mind KNOWS without doubt that he is being well taken care of, well, it's just not the same type of care.  I love the man, they don't really even know him.  It's just their job.  He's my whole life now.  I know him.

Trying to redirect my thoughts and feelings I did a late night run to the Apple store to replace my keyboard which had died.  It helped.  Just being able to leave the house cuz I needed something was liberating.  Felt much better when I got home and went to bed, sleeping without keeping one eye and one ear open.

Woke up early this morning refreshed, with a milder sense of guilt.  Gee, don't even have to worry about taking Rocky outside lickety-split as soon as I wake up!  It was really nice not having anything I HAD to do, just only what I WANTED to do.  So I baked a batch of Paul's favorite cookies.  Packed up a "goody bag" and hauled booty to see Paul.  I arrive and the nurse says, "What are YOU doing here?!!  You're supposed to be relaxing!!"  LOL.  I mention something about "Nurse Ratchett" and she laughs and eases off!  I stay only about 30 minutes, long enough to clean his nails, tell him about how yesterday Rocky thought he was the "Stud" of the daycare group at the kennel (even though he's been fixed), offer to shave him, which he rejects saying he'll do it tomorrow, offer to peel the orange I brought him, which he also rejects.  It's almost noon so they bring his lunch and I cut up the meatloaf, and he eats.  I kiss him goodbye, climb into the van, and sob like there's no tomorrow.  I do that a lot.

Wipe away the tears.  Don't know where to go.  Feel lost not being needed.  It's noon.  Oh, I'm hungry!  Stop at IHOP, eat like a horse.  Full tummy, yawn.

I've got a massage scheduled for 3:00p.m. (A gift certificate from my son and his wife, Ben and Shawna, for my birthday last February 5.)  (Have tried several times to schedule that massage but ambulances keep coming into our lives and had to cancel 2 appointments.)  Think I can squeeze in a nap before the massage.  NOT.  On the way home I'm driving beside an ambulance and watch in amazement as it hits something in the road which explodes and comes flying towards me!  I smell paint.  What?  Oh Oh.  Turns out the ambulance had hit a can of brown spray paint.  We pull over.

Do you smell paint? Yup, sure do! Hey guys, it's all over your ambulance!!

  Hey Lady!!  You got a little paint too!  We're SORRY!

These pics are better than the ones I took at the "scene".
Oh, and it's dark brown enamel paint.
I don't think they make water soluble paint in spray cans.

There are probably ten thousand white Toyota vans in the Houston area.  I'll NEVER have trouble finding our van in a parking lot again!  Mine is the one that looks like a Dalmatian.  Don't tell Paul!!  I'll just handle it.

On second thought, I WILL tell Paul.  Oughtta get a good belly laugh from him!!  They do say laughter heals.  [This paint situation is not in any "caregiver" book I've read!]  Ya gotta just laugh.  There's no other way to handle it.  LOL.  Laughing feels so good...try it.

Well, I did make it to my massage! Awwwwwwwwwww.  I could hardly walk or talk after it ended.  Feel like jello.  Massages should come with free ambulance rides home!  I don't DO my nails, toes, hair, waxes, tans, or all those types of things girls do nowadays.  But NOW I wanna be a massage queen!  

It's been a Blessed day.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Little blessings.

Yup, I know it's after 3:00A.M. (early Monday morning)  Regular people should be sleeping.  But we don't fit the profile of "regular people" anymore, well at least ever since the tumor diagnosis "Shattered our Dreams" on November 15.  Time of day just doesn't apply when you're dealing with cancer.

This Saturday and Sunday were actually boring, which to US is a Blessing!  Sounds nuts, I guess.  But it is a fact.  It's our "new normal"; and even boring is wonderful!

Both days we've been watching great movies on the Hallmark Channel, occasionally interrupted by taking Rocky out to pee and poop, and wishing I could take Paul outside to do the same!  Visualize that! (It's a joke, people! Please don't think I'm being mean.)

Sunday evening began perfectly:  lit the new gas grill,

put some potatoes in the oven to bake, then put 2 Cajun Stuffed pork chops on the grill.  We had a yummy dinner!  Paul ate every bit!!  Plus ice cream sandwiches for dessert!

After that, (for the 3rd time today) I changed the bedding.  This takes almost an hour each time.  Stinky, not real fun, but hey: "stuff" happens!!  My crazy brain deems it a Blessing cuz it means Paul's gizzard and plumbing are still working!  Plus it gives me something to do.

Paul was always meticulously groomed EVERY day.  Took great personal pride in himself, NOT because it mattered to me, but because it mattered to HIM!  He shaved every day, and even on his days off!!  I loved that about my guy!  Other guys don't "clean up" on days off, but I have NEVER EVER seen my dear hubby all gross and unshaven, EVER!  So this is on my priority list to make certain he still gets all that daily.

After finding out tonight on Fox News that Bin Laden was dead I sat on the bed with Paul wanting to chat about this news.  Was thinking that my always-politically-savvy-hubby (military call sign "Winger" not because he's a pilot but for his staunch right-wing beliefs) would get excited and I could get a glimpse of his old self.  Nope.  Didn't happen.

Well, I still have an opinion (which I kept to myself but will tell you).  To me the bullet that killed Eric came indirectly from that evil man.  I'm glad Bin Laden is dead.  (Even though it's probably an un-Christian way to feel.)  And I'm pretty sure that neither Eric, nor Paul, nor I, nor anyone who Believes, shall have to face him in heaven.  Good riddance.  

But, I'm tired.  OK, I'm exhausted, bedtime...

[Will save this post as a draft, then edit and publish it later.  Love this blog stuff.  Gives me a way to vent and share all at the same time.]

Today, May 2, is my oldest grandchild's birthday!!  Happy Birthday, Jeremy!!  When Jeremy was 7 years old he flew to New York City to visit with me.  I lived on the upper east side of Manhattan when I was based there while flying "International trips" for Continental.  We DID the city!  Here's a photo I took of him at the top of the World Trade Center/South Tower.  That's the roof of the North Tower building in the background.  Someday Jeremy will be able to show his children and grandkids this memorable picture.  I transferred and moved back to Houston 6 months prior to the terrorist attacks on September 11.
Happy 18th Birthday, Jeremy!!  We love you!!
Remember, Uncle Sam does NOT need you.

We had visitors this afternoon!  Neil and Shirley Pedersen who are fairly new friends of ours, came over bringing homemade cookies and a beautiful Calla Lily plant.  Here's a little background info.  For about 2 years prior to Paul's brain tumor diagnosis we had gone to several RV Shows, accumulated tons and tons of RV knowledge and used up well over 4 packs of printer paper via the internet, subscribed to every RV magazine available, joined the "Good Sam RV Club" and lots of other similar RV clubs, put the house on the market, sold most of the furniture, and had finally decided on our "Dream" RV manufactured by Tiffin.  As members of several RV forums, we noticed that Neil and Shirley were living OUR "retirement dream" in OUR "dream" RV, on the road traveling to Florida for the winter, and were temporarily located in a campground just a few miles away!  So I emailed this guy trying to make a connection and maybe get a chance to see their RV and pick their brains about the lifestyle!!  The story gets really funny now cuz Shirley tells me they were VERY skeptical about meeting "STRANGERS" from the internet, so they responded to my email that they would meet us at a local public establishment, in broad daylight!  We met.  We all totally "gelled", and they comfortably followed us home to continue chatting!!  I guess they realized we weren't whacko internet serial killers like you see in the movies!!  Fear long gone, we quickly and easily became good friends.  We later visited them at the campground and both of us just knew they were wonderful people!  So a true friendship had begun.  Paul and I planned on someday "traveling" with them.  Sometimes you just KNOW in your heart and soul that you have met really good people.  Gotta trust your gut.  It was only a few weeks later that we got the diagnosis of the tumor, shattering all of those dreams.

We have kept in touch.  And now they are here in Texas for a few weeks, heading back towards Oregon for the summer.  Ahhhh, what a lifestyle!!  They are wonderful folks, and we consider their friendship another Blessing.  Thank you, Neil and Shirley, you have truly enriched our lives.
 TRY to notice the lovely Calla Lilies!!

About 2 minutes after Neil and Shirley arrived, Janis and Clark Nielsen rang the doorbell!!

That was when I remembered Clark's phone call last week about coming to visit today.  [Note to self:  write everything down on the calendar!!]  The Nielsens had driven here from Corpus Christi (about 4 hours)!  At first I was a little bit concerned about how Paul was going to react to all of these people here at once, but those concerns were quickly squashed.  It was wonderful!  I quickly noticed how Paul was REALLY enjoying the impromptu "party".  It really took the pressure off of him to have to try to speak cuz we were all just chatting away!  He couldn't have gotten a word in IF he wanted to try!!  Duh.  IT WAS PERFECT!!  [Note to self: disregard previous note to self!!] 

Naturally the conversation turned toward the Bin Laden news.  It was immediately obvious that we were all on the "same page" about this great news.  So Clark runs out to his car and fetches a chilled bottle of Champagne so we can offer up a "toast" to the Navy Seals who brilliantly completed their mission of divine justice, and we then more importantly toasted those heroic soldiers like Eric who had fallen but who had most probably dreamed of being the one to pull the trigger.  

We were reminded of another Blessing today, being an American.  God bless our wonderful country.