It was a good week. After attending Sunday School last Sunday, I drove into Katherine’s to give her meds and feed her lunch until her afternoon aide arrived. Back at the farm, Gerald had waited till I returned to take us out to eat dinner, and he chose my favorite restaurant where we had not been recently.
On Monday, we drove up to
to visit my
brother Jim and his wife Vivian for the first time in way too long. With
beautiful weather, we had a pleasant trip up stopping at Effingham for lunch Jim had been in the hospital in July for over
a week and had a light heart attack while there and also received three scary
procedures with his stints. I was relieved to see him looking so good. He smilingly told me that he had dressed for
our visit, and only the drug store visits had the same honor. Mattoon
Adding to our pleasure was their granddaughter Vanessa dropping in. I had finally brought up her wedding present and had hated for Vivian to have to care for it, so it was great that she happened to come by on an errand on her moving day! She and her husband are leaving
Champaign and moving over to . He was at work, but her brother Sean had
helped her move that day. I wish he’d
have accidently dropped by too, but I think he is pretty busy with grad school
and two or three jobs. Vanessa walked
out to finish her busy day, and our niece Judi walked in! We had a good visit
with her too. We left so as not to arrive home too late as we had told them
we’d do when we phoned the day before. Vivian invited us to stay for supper,
but we wanted to stick to our schedule. Marshall
We had never stopped at
to eat before, but feeling
adventurous, decided we’d pull off there. I don’t handle pancakes well early in
the morning and I am too lazy to make them often in the evening, but I could
not resist when I saw the slick colorful photo in the menu. They were
delicious. We arrived home tired but not
too tired. Salem
Tuesday after lunch, I had to have an INR at the doctor’s office since the home health nurses had made their last visit at our house the previous week. Afterwards I ran by the grocery to pick up fruit juices and milk that I knew Katherine and Sam needed before I went to their house to figure hours on aides’ pay sheets and write their checks for the next day. As it turned out, her aide was suffering from a kidney stone and had to leave early. So I was glad I was already there to help out. It was 9:30 when I arrived back at the farm for a late supper and evening pills and an early bedtime.
Starting Wednesday our life on the farm was consumed with the National Pro Fastpitch Championship tourney. Our son Gerry has coached the USSSA Pride this summer. We were thrilled last week when Pride finished the regular season with the most wins. Yesterday our week ended with the Pride winning the tournament—the first time for a NPF team to win both the regular season championship and the Championship Series since the Chicago Bandits did in 2008.
We knew we would be watching many of the best softball players in the world. The skill of these great women athletes is astounding. When games were streaming, we watched on Gerald’s computer; and when televised, we watched in the family room. Sketchy meals were eaten as the game schedule allowed--sometimes in Gerald’s office. Excitement continued when the Pride came through the semi-finals with two straight victories over Pennsylvania Rebellion. Several of these professionals were on the Olympic teams, and some were ones we used to cheer for at
. (I find it hard not to root for Taylor
Schlopy, Alisa Goler, or Megan Wiggins even when they are playing against us.) University
Friday started well and was especially a happy day because my friend Dorothy Rudoni finally made it to the farm—a visit we had talked about for years. We used to see each other at various meetings, but we hadn’t had that opportunity in recent years since I’ve dropped out of most meetings. She arrived that morning bearing freshly-baked banana bread, and Gerald and I have been so enjoying it ever since. Best of all was catching up with each other’s lives as we talked as hard and fast as we could and could have kept on talking the rest of the day if time had allowed it.
We did not plan to watch the third game Friday afternoon to see whether the Bandits or Akron Racers ended up going into the finals against Pride. Not because we were not interested, but because it was Gerald’s brother Garry and his wife Ginger’s 60th wedding anniversary. Back on July 20, Gerald and I had gone to the hospital to say goodbye to Ginger and to support Garry and their children as they listened to the sad test results following her early morning seizures at the nursing home.
She had gone to the nursing home after almost dying in a previous hospitalization. To keep her from starving, a feeding tube was used. At the nursing home, the family had kept almost constant vigil encouraging her in physical therapy so she could go back home after the terrible damage from the stokes and seizures in May. Actually strokes and seizures have visited her since December 2001 when she lost her short term memory.
Nevertheless, she has had many active years before the deterioration became worst. She kept herself attractively dressed and was able to participate very well in family and social life even though she could not remember conversations that just happened. With excellent help from a neighbor aide to be sure Ginger was safe and to keep her meds straight, Garry was able to keep on farming. But the passing years took their toll.
Ginger had made it clear she did not want to linger on artificial life support, and with great grief Garry allowed the doctor to take off the horrible mask that was making her grimace in discomfort but helping her breathe. Immediately she began breathing on her own and in three days was well enough to go home with help from Hospice and some training for the family in using the feeding tube. Furniture was moved, and a hospital bed was secured for the living room.
The family has worked together juggling schedules to be sure someone is with her at all times when the aide is not present. Their reward is knowing that they brought her home as they had told her they hoped to do. There was little communication and few smiles at the nursing home, and there has been a slight improvement at home. She waves back at them often times. She enjoys visitors, and our niece Vicki urges people to come by. So we went down and were delighted to see how much better she looked than back in July.
Though she woke up briefly when Gerald stood beside her and called her name, she was soon back asleep. We enjoyed visiting with her aide and with Garry. And then Ginger’s special friend since her teen years came over from
with her adult
son and daughter and the daughter’s three-year-old granddaughter. Ginger would
so have enjoyed the little girl in times past, and she would have loved hearing
JoAnn tell the story of how she arranged the blind date for Garry and Ginger to
meet, She actually went with them on their first date, and while driving
around, they got lost and ended up in a cornfield before dinner. But Ginger only opened her eyes for them and
then fell quickly to sleep again. She
missed the curly-headed blond granddaughter and the story. Cape Girardeau
But our niece Vicki shared on Facebook the next morning that Ginger was awake for their immediate family supper party, and evidently they let her cut the special cake they brought in for the occasion. Since then Vicki has posted photos of decorations and the lovely floral arrangement brought in for the foot of her bed. Adult grandchildren are not likely to forget this celebration of sixty years of marriage for a couple who still love one another. And the celebration must have done Ginger good, for Vicki (who often sleeps on an air mattress beside her mother’s bed) was elated that when she told her mother good morning, Ginger said the words back to her.
After leaving their farm, we picked up supper from the Anna Subway, so we could eat as soon as we reached home. We wanted to be ready to watch the first game of the finals at 7, and we found out the Akron Racers had won their second game out of three against the Bandits in the semi-finals Friday afternoon. Both of those teams have great players and either would be a challenge. The game began. We sat there enthralled as Cat Osterman threw a complete game shutout with 12 strikes despite being hit in the shin by a hit ball. It took nine innings to win this tied game, but Pride did it. We went to bed knowing Saturday would decide which team could win two out of three.
I got up early (for me) and worked as hard as I could trying to get every thing done and an early lunch prepared, so we’d be ready to start cheering Pride at 1:00. Katherine called during lunch because her aide had to take off early to get a very sick daughter to the ER. Katherine did not think her afternoon aide would be able to come because she had left early the previous day for an X ray of her wrist. So I went out and watched the game with Katherine beside her hospital bed. Mary Ellen was at the farm watching with Gerald. The afternoon aide, 21 years old, actually did show up with a wristband and a carpal tunnel diagnosis and the X ray also showed some arthritis. I was especially tired from working so hard all morning, so after the aide came in, I went home and took a nap.
I slept very good with a smile on my face. After a very close game, Pride turned on in the sixth inning with seven runs. and held the Racers in their sixth and seventh innings for a final score of 8-3, I imagine Danielle Lawrie slept well too. It was her final game before retiring. She had played this summer with her mother traveling with her to care for Lawrie’s baby girl. She picked up this national tourney win in relief, allowing one run on three hits in her six innings of work. She retired 12 of the first 13 batters she faced after coming on for the Pride. What a nice way to exit.
Gerry, Vickie, and Geri Ann left
Birmingham this morning in their three
vehicles heading to ,
where Gerry will be an associate coach this year. Their house closing is not until late
September, so they will have to rent an apartment while they wait. But Bryan and Tara Archibald’s family are
already there in College Station, Texas College Station getting ready
for Tara’s new job while Bryan continues working
out of their home just as he did in . He’ll commute to Georgia area headquarters
when necessary. Tomorrow the three boys start school. They have already met their teachers. Erin is
there already since she has done some of the prep work for them, so tonight
their entire family is together at Tara and Chicago ’s place. I know they must be exhausted and I hope they
all sleep well. Bryan