Monday, January 29, 2007

William R. Barlow, Sr.
October 17, 1923 - January 28, 2007

He's gone. We all feared it with his recent surgery. We celebrated when he survived the operation. We were joyous when we heard the very unexpected and un-usual news that he was cancer FREE! Our hopes were up, but for those of us who spent the last week with Dad, there was a fear, pushed down, decisively ignored. And, our worst fears came true yesterday.

Without going into great detail, I will say this. His heart - and perhaps first his will - gave out. We knew his heart was not good. A dr. told us a year ago it could stop anytime. He had a pacemaker and congestive heart failure. It was a hard week for him. And yesterday morning, after being taken to the ER after a rough night, his heart just quit.

And our hearts are broken. My heart is broken. He was more of a Dad to me than he'll ever know. But God knows. Because God brought me in to this beautiful family and gave me the gift of Mom and Dad Barlow. My loss isn't lessened by being an in-law.

Our grief is momentarily relieved by the wonderful knowledge that we know for sure where he is now. Thank God, we know for sure. Thank God for promises in His Word that assure us of this.

And we are cheered when we think of him being with Mom again. He was never quite the same without her. He missed her dearly.

Life with Dad was a joy because he was a joy and a sweet-heart. And we will miss him dearly. I miss him dearly.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Life with Dad.

It's all about that this week. He was scheduled for surgery next week to remove a cancerous tumor from his colon. But when the dr.'s gathered that he was having abdominal pain, they moved the surgery up a week. This, after fooling around for over a month - he was diagnosed in November. So all the schedules that had been re-arranged to accomodate Dad's surgery were all for nought. I ended up taking the day off on Tuesday to take him to the hospital (40 minutes away) and spent exactly 12 hours there. He never got back to his room until 10 p.m. But it was a blessing that he got back there at all, with having a bad heart and all.

Wednesday Chris and I went to visit as soon as I got home from work. He was doing remarkably well - at that point not even 24 hours after surgery. He was like "super Dad". Pretty hyper and a bit confused. We were able to speak with the doc at around 8 p.m. He said the tumor was much larger than they realized. And he had a cement-like abdomen from a previous colon surgery (to remove a cancerous polyp) years ago. In fact, he said Dad's bowel was obstructed. (Hence the pain he'd been feeling of late and, probably the source of "gut" pain he's complained of for years...) So we do expect Dad will be feeling much better overall after the surgery heals. He ended up with an ostomy, which we knew. The doc knew we were also concerned about spreading, but couldn't tell us anything yet. He said the tumor was years old, so I don't see that as a good sign, that, and it's size. We'll have to see on that one.

Thursday, my BIL, Bob, visited and said Dad was experiencing a lot of confusion. The nurses ended up calling the family Friday to see if we were ready to bring him home and, though we initially thought this unreasonable, it turned out to be the best choice. Being very confused and hallucinagenic is not uncommon in the elderly after surgery and during a hospital stay.

On Friday, I worked from 8-1 so that Chris and I could go right down (we thought when my earlier hours were planned that we would only be visiting Dad for the afternoon in the hospital) and, though we were reluctant to bring Dad home at first, we soon saw that he was not only doing amazingly well physically, but was REALLY messed up mentally. So we agreed it was best to get him home and in his own familiar surroundings and bed. Chris's sister, Beth, was to come for a week on Saturday, so Chris spent the night with Dad and I came back down in the morning to be there when he woke up and to meet his needs.

Dad did fine and after a fitful beginning, did get some good sleep. Slept til about 11 a.m. He was much more himself - and more in pain after not having meds since the wee hours - so I drugged and fed him and then brought him over to Chris's sister, Kellie's, to stay for the rest of the day. Don't know yet when Beth will get in - today or now Sunday, due to some snow showers.

All in all, I'm so glad that Chris and I were available for Dad this week. We love him dearly and are very concerned about his care and recovery. (Yes, we got taught how to care for his "ostomy" bag and etc. It's not too bad, but I can hardly believe that I'm all caught up with the bathroom needs of yet another parent - the second within a month!)

Being back in my own cozy little den now, though, is very welcome. I have a few things to get ready for church tomorrow and then I am going to totally "crash" in front of the tube. My sweet little Rocky is curled up on my lap even as I'm blogging - keeping me warm since the fire got pretty low with Chris gone overnight.

I think Dad will recover nicely from the surgery. In fact, as I said before, he'll probably be feeling better than he has in a long time. The next hurdle will be facing whether or not the cancer has spread and what to do about it. As the doc said, it's a philosophical question as to whether or not you give chemo to an 83 year old man with a bad heart.....We shall see.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

One tough kitty?

That's my Rocky. We think he's 13. And he's still pretty darn frisky. He was doing moves the other night that would make any running back jealous.

Kitties are such creatures of habit. I love that. When I can't depend on anything else, I can depend on Rocky. He comes in the bathroom with me every morning and stands between my legs when I'm sitting you-know-where. Until I pet him for a while. Any time I'm sitting on the couch, he's sure to be plastered against my side. When I lay on my right side in bed, with my right arm bent up to my pillow on the mattress, he always comes and folds his little paw into my palm and then lays the rest of himself on my arm. I love that.

When he was a kitten, I asked a girlfriend to help me name him. I wanted something masculine, so she came up with Rocky. And though he still loves to play (like with ribbon in the picture) and sometimes pretends to ignore me and bites me if I touch his back feet, well, he's really just a little pussy-cat. He loves me as much as I love him. In the photo, he was playing, but I called his name and he looked up at me. And Chris took the shot. He can't resist a chance to be petted and snuggled - by MOI alone. With Chris and Dustin, not so much. Dustin doesn't respect his space. And Chris just sends out "keep away" vibes most of the time. But Rocky and I have an understanding.

He almost died once and I remember just looking at him in the eyes and willing him to live and conveying to him how much I loved him. I think he got it...and he did live. He is one tough kitty.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


First, see the SNOW out that window? That's one. Our first snow that's stuck. Well, it ain't much, I know, but it's something. And it's winter and there should be snow!

Second, notice that you can see out that window? Just two days ago you couldn't. B'cause we had our crappy twenty year old fogged up sliding door in there. And now, it's a P E L L A. Take a deep breath with me now. Yes, we own, not one, but two, yes TWO, sturdy, beautiful Pella sliding doors. (The other one's on the other side of the house/deck). Those dang old doors have been driving me nuts for SO long. So thank you, Matthew and Martha, for planning to get married at our house in June, b'cause otherwise, I'm pretty sure we'd be having those old crappy doors for another whole bunch of years...

See? It doesn't take much to entertain me in my simple little life!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

This is my latest creation. It's a little mini-tag book I made for my mom for Christmas. The pictures were taken when we all got together in Madison back in May of 06. You can see the whole album here. By the way, my maiden name is "Hall" - hence the play on words in the title of the little book. I really like the quilt theme, which was inspired by the "Family Quilt" sticker on the first page (shown). I love the quote on the last page (shown). It's definitely true about our family!

My next scrappin' project is to design about three different wedding invitation sets for Matthew and Martha to choose from. In fact, I'm going to start that this afternoon.

But I have to run to WalMart. I've been in the house for about 4 days now and I think I need to get outside a little bit. Especially since it's in the upper 40's out there. Nice.

Am I getting tired of being home? Uh, NO!!! I'm just SO relishing this time. And I'm really getting a lot of "stuff" done, too. It's really going to be hard to go back on Monday. Getting up at 5:50 a.m. will be the real killer. I've been sleeping in til about 8:30 a.m. at the earliest. Got in the hot tub this a.m. Lovely. How can I give this up again? It's getting harder and harder.

I'll think about it some more - later...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

I love a new year. And I love having my computer upstairs in the living room on my desk! It's a change that happened relatively quickly, thanks to Christmas money!

A few weeks ago I told Chris I hated going into our computer room downstairs to work because it was always a mess (out of my comfort zone) and I hated being in a place with no windows and no knowledge of what was going on out in the real world. So we discussed the option of him getting a laptop for downstairs and moving our existing computer up to my desk.

And - voila - there it is! I'm lovin' it. Loving to look out the window, loving that the bathroom and snacks are only a few steps away. And loving that I can hear the sounds of the chimes gently awakened by the wind. It will no longer be such a pain to come home from work and do banking, etc. I can turn on the stereo and work in a lovely, neat space - my OWN! (Did I mention I'm only steps away from my scraproom as well?)

Chris benefits from this change as well because he can now make that dungeon, er, I mean, lower level computing space, into HIS own. He can set up his office down there however he wants. I only need to keep a file cabinet in there, but all the rest is up to his imagination. Ok - NO smoking of any kind down there unless he can feed a pipeline directly from his office to the outside and blow directly into it. (Knowing him, that will be his next project!) :)

My desire to re-organize the whole house is very strong right now. So the question is - scrap or organize. Wow, I HATE these tough choices! So much to think about in the new year...

That makes me HAPPY!