My Sister – I love You

diana at the Art at the Barn faire

My sister was found to have a mass on her brain, (yesterday). She goes back in today for an MRI with contrast.

I am so sick about it.

She’d been losing her sight and it all came on within the past few months. I suspected something wrong because she was tired a lot.  More so of late. picnic

She is my baby sister.  She was the one who left her job and came out to Alabama to help me take care of our parents.  It was hard at first and we at times fought.  If you can picture 50-60 year old’s fighting.

She is/was a massage therapist and into natural remedies which is why she only went to her acupuncturist and chiropractor, seeking a “natural”solution to whatever was ailing her.  Now, that I think back on it, she has complained for some time that she had not been feeling well. She thought it was a mold issue. (She lives in Florida) She complained and yes, there was mold in her air conditioning and her landlord took care of it.Yellow Mushrooms

Even so, she’d been complaining about an overall not feeling well and we’d make jokes about how it sucks getting old.  I still kept insisting she see a doctor.  I told her that I understood her wanting to go natural, but sometimes it’s valuable to find out what is for sure going on and if there’s a natural course of attack, then she can make that decision.  She “said” she agreed with my reasoning, but she kept putting it off.

What was interesting and I mentioned this to her, if her cats got sick she’d take them to the doctor and spend whatever necessary.  She always came second.Closet Diva (1)

For a time, I talked to her less out of sheer frustration.  I didn’t want to hear about the acupuncturist and chiropractor.  Please understand, I have nothing against them, but I just suspected more.  I wonder too, if they had not recommended the same, because many do and will, but she wouldn’t say.

She finally said she had gone to the doctor.  I discover yesterday that she went to a Lenscrafter optician. When she told me about her visit, she made a joke about, “Hey, you know the big letters on the eye chart?  Well, I can’t even see those!  My eyes are really bad.”  He did recommend she see a specialist but then she said well, I haven’t heard back from him with the referral he would recommend.  I suggest she call him.  She never did. She said, no $$. She is on Medicare, but had not gotten the supplemental insurance and she was no longer working.  If you know anything about massage therapists, they are independent contractors with no benefits whatsoever, so of course no retirement income.  She said she had put some money away, but says, she doesn’t know where it went to. She wanted me to come out.  She asked me often. I wanted to but wouldn’t go.

These are my reasons.  If I’d gone out, it might have resulted in a vacation and that would have been her reasoning. Excuses. I’m not an awful sister, but… I knew if I did, my time would be limited and I knew I’d be spinning my wheels, not knowing the area and trying to find what was available. I don’t know people, services or doctors there and at the end of the day, nothing would have been accomplished.

The Tree Tea Party

I kept insisting she call her “boys” and let them know what was going on but she wanted me to come out.  I dug in my heels.  She kept saying they had busy lives and her daughter in law had just lost her dad and a few years before, her mother.  No, she didn’t want to put that on them.  Her boys are busy, with sports and raising kids.  One, has a girl in college on a sports scholarship, I think she said,  another in high school.  The college student would come on occasion and help her with things. The other son has little ones.  Both “boys” are busy.  Well guess what?  She broke down and told them and they aren’t too busy to help their mom and they are the reason she is getting help.  They know the right doctors. They got the referrals and are taking care of business… and in short order.

Blue Pumpkins

Because she couldn’t see, she had possibly mismanaged her bank accounts and they’ve had to step in to help with that. Everyone is getting involved.

The daughter in law said they’d seen her not that long ago but she behaved “normally” so they were unaware. She is not a complainer, so she never said a word to them. Even when she spoke to me, she didn’t actually complain. So when she finally did let them know the extent of her vision loss, they immediately got her help. Their doctor, did not order the tests right away because she had been taking so many herbs and potions, he said they would cloud the tests and he wanted to wait until they were out of her system before doing blood work. Now, I wait for more.

Before the MRI, the “kids” asked for our family history.  I sent that to them. Before the MRI, they said the doctor had indicated she was depressed and they thought she had begun to be forgetful.  Depression can do that too.  Just in the last couple of weeks, I had noticed a turn.  She was sleeping more and I reasoned that perhaps that was why she was losing time. She would forget things. She kept talking about how I was going to be there in a few days after I had explained I would come in October. She forgot.  THAT IS NOT HER. She was once a bookkeeper at Disney World.  She knows computation.

The doctor gave her simple equations and she could not compute them. She got angry with him for asking her to “think”. Multi Color Pots

I am writing this because for the last few days I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster and I don’t know what to do.

I lashed out at hubby. I hugged hubby. So glad I have hubby.

I feel ANGER. I am so angry. Angry at her for not going to the doctor when I suggested and how so like dad that was.  Stubborn and rebellious. How could she do that to us?  I am the eldest and yes, I can be so bossy! I know that, but it doesn’t make me wrong.  Why didn’t you go?  I CAN’T LOSE MY BABY SISTER!!!!

Then there’s the GUILT.  Why didn’t I just go over her head and enlist her boys whether she liked it or not?  I know why.  I just never guessed it was that bad and I  am feeling guilty for not having known. I want to scream!!!

And, SAD.  I am so sad.  What if it’s not a slam dunk remedy?

PAIN.  It hurts so bad. My emotions are all over the board.

Flying Carpet

Last night, I kept remembering all the good times she and I shared in our misery taking care of our parents.  Our parents had been difficult our whole lives. We marveled at how well we had all turned out despite the abuses.  She is a beautiful person and an artist and I know she’s not dead, but with the my back log of clues, the evidence may have been there longer than we knew… I don’t know.  I know as we grow older, it is inevitable we lose people we love. It’s all part of life.

I call the family on this side of the country to let them know.  I called my son in Texas only to learn he lost one of his best friends this past week of a brain tumor.  He was 38.  I guess age doesn’t matter.

Can I be royally pissed? Certainly, but I forgive her. She is sweet and loving and probably never imagined it was that bad. I sometimes wonder if children of a hypochondriac parent put off things for fear they may be parroting them?

Spread throughout this blog are pictures my sister has drawn, using crayon.  It is Crayon Art which she has won awards for. I love them.

I Did It!!!!

DCIM100GOPROG0051360.Yes, I did.  I did it.  I jumped out of an airplane and it was amazing.

I did a tandem sky dive with GoJump Oceanside.  What an experience.

I started out yesterday June 2, but the weather just wasn’t cooperating.  Clouds were too low, so I had to reschedule or wait around and hope it would clear. I rescheduled.  As it was, it never did clear and we would have waited around for nothing.

So here it is Monday June 3rd and it’s looking grim again.  I was scheduled for 1:00 pm and at around 2:30 in the afternoon, there was a break.  Little by little, the sky opened up.  My original jumping buddy hadn’t shown yet.  So while everyone was getting into their harnesses,  Rob,  this guy from the UK, who Hubby and I met the previous day, said he’d help set me up in the meantime.

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Getting into my harness was easy and not unlike my rock climbing harness with the exception of the shoulder portion, which he cinches up for me. All the while, he’s telling me what would be expected of me, which was much more than I thought it would be.

Once airborne and it’s time to jump, I was needing to put my legs over the side, tuck them under the body of the plane, lean in to my partner, hold onto my straps and go. I had to ask him a couple of times, to make sure I was getting what he was saying through his British brogue.   So, I think I repeated it a couple of times back to be sure.  I was only nervous I might forget one of the four simple things he’d told me. lol  Surprisingly, I was more excited than scared or nervous.   Perhaps, it was because I’d always had flying dreams as a kid. It somehow seemed like a natural thing to do.

Then we did our walk to the plane and of course, I had to do the “cheesecake pose”.

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Betty Boop, I’m not.

As it turns out Rob got to be my jumping buddy after all.  It was nice to have gotten someone we had already built a rapport with earlier on.

Rob and the rest of the crew were amazing.  Friendly and helpful.  They recommend, no, they insist we take our jewelry off and/or any loose items off our person, but of course, they can’t force you.  I debated on taking my wedding ring off.  I sort of felt like it was on pretty tight.

So here we are on the plane, getting ready.  The girl across the aisle from me and I were laughing and making faces but as soon as the door opened, the wind coming in made them for us.

We climbed for about 15 mintues.

At 13,000 feet,  we’re off! Cowabunga!

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It was exhilarating. I still can’t believe I did it.

And of course the face distortion shot. And, the chute deployment.

At first, it was just so surreal.

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I was trying to remember if there was something I was forgetting.  My ears suddenly popped and ouch that hurt, so Rob told me to pinch my nose and blow.  That helped.

DCIM100GOPROG0061439.Then, suddenly my tummy started to flip flop.  I got motion sick – squeamish.

That, fortunately didn’t occur until the chute opened and we were nearing the landing point.  By the way, the chute opening did not jerk, like I imagined it would.  It was quite smooth.  What got me is the swirling around as we maneuvered into the drop zone. It’s all about timing for so many jumpers to land near one another, so we spun around a few times to get situated but, it was like a roller coaster with way too many loop de loops.  I was thankful I’d had a light lunch.DCIM100GOPROG0071443.

And, here we are.  Safe and sound.

Hubby did not do this with me.  He actually didn’t want to  but he did want to be there.  Unfortunately,  he had to work.  As soon as he got off, he came running down but still missed it by about 10 minutes. Fortunately, for me it was a good thing, because shortly after we’d landed, I noticed my wedding ring missing off my finger and I thought crap he will absolutely kill me.

We looked around on the ground as though we actually thought we’d find it.  I wanted to die. I had no clue.  Then, I remembered handing over a baggy to the girl behind the counter.  Did I?

ring

Yes, I did.

P.S. Oh my, was my hair a tangle when I went to brush it later that night.  I thought I’d pull every strand out  getting the gnarls out. Thank heaven my hair isn’t that long.

Fear – Working Through It

This is my home:IMG_2710

 

Two Men

Earlier today I had two unknown men run across my backyard and out our side gate. As I saw them run past my french doors, I kept my eye on them following them around to my other french doors in the dining room,  I noticed those doors were locked.  About that time Ferguson jumped up and started barking as the fumbled with the gate catch. I quickly jumped up and flipped the lock on the first set of doors.

I ran for my phone but I’d couldn’t get it back up quick enough.  I’d just shut it down and was rebooting it when this started.

These two guys didn’t look like vagrants.  What they did look like were two men running from the law.

Complacency

Our home overlooks a canyon, which of late has been housing some homeless.  I’ve never fussed about it as some of you may have noticed in previous posts, my feeling has been one of compassion.  However, we have a new batch and they have littered and destroyed the terrain below us.  They say you can tell a lot about a person by how they keep their home, perhaps that’s what contributed to my discomfort, I don’t know. Nonetheless, as my hubby and I looked out our backyard the other day we were grateful for the thick growth of thick trees and bushes below us which appear to be impenetrable. It has always made me feel safe.  If I can’t get through them then who can?

My Why

Right now, I sit here overwhelmed with fear. I can’t stop crying afraid to open my doors.

The night before the police helicopters had been searching for someone and on their bull horn gave a description. Could this be them? Was there a them? I thought it was just one guy.

I did finally get through to the police and they were nice. The dispatch lady tried to calm me.  The dispatcher said, no, it wasn’t the man they’d been looking for, they caught the guy last night.  She asked for their description which I gave to her.  She wanted to be sure I was okay. I told her I would call my husband as he worked nearby.  She thought that a good idea.  So, as soon as I could somewhat calm myself I tried to him.  I couldn’t get a ring and it went to voicemail.  I’m thinking perhaps he’d forgotten to charge it.  So, I called his work. By now, I’m crying in a panic rush but I’m not getting anywhere there either.  It kept asking for me to punch an extension which I didn’t know, always relying on the cell.  So, I hit HR, but get nothing.  No one answers. I do this three times trying different extensions.  It’s like WTF!

I’m angry and in a dither.  Through all this I actually debated whether or not I could show up at his work with no makeup and my hair still wet.  How vain am I?  VERY!!!

Yes, I’d just moments before gotten out of the shower. At least I was dressed but I’d not yet blow dried my hair or put makeup on. I thought I’d just hang out for a change and yes, I put makeup on every. single. day.  But yes, I got in the car and started to back out of the driveway when the police showed up, so I stayed and showed them around.

I took them to the backyard, which I’d not been out to and there were 5-6 police cars and vans searching the brush.  I looked up at the cop and he said, that what happens is when they cruise the homeless camp areas, the ones with warrants will run off and that is probably what happened.  Even though that should have eased my mind, it didn’t.

We talked more about home security systems for our home and weapons, should I want to add that measure.  Yes, we talked about that. They actually recommended less harmful weaponry that can ward off a perp but have limited range and not hurt anyone else, should you fire it. I can’t remember what, but that’s not much good to me.

Knowing California law, I sold anything I had (nothing serious, just enough for the coyotes, possums and varmints on the farm), now I wish I had something for the varmints that might come up my slope.IMG_2718

I was grateful that my door wasn’t hanging open like it usually is.

I finally got through to Russ, he had checked his phone and called me back and of course, came and checked on me.  I put up a stiff upper lip and he went back to work.

I felt like such a whiny, cry-baby lady.

I don’t know why it left me so rattled.  They weren’t in the least bit interested in coming into my home, but some how I felt violated and less safe. I’m alone 10 hours a day.  I go to the gym a few hours a week and go shopping on occasion.  I have very few friends that live nearby. Since I moved from Alabama, the people I’ve met here are too busy with their own lives and families.  I’m not one of those that locks her doors, my husband is fanatical about it. Now, it looks like I will have to and it makes me so angry and sad.

We are not in a bad neighborhood or part of town. It’s just a regular suburban home and yet… I no longer feel safe.

Right now I’m yearning for the farm.

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The Farm