Sunday, September 14, 2008

An emotional weekend

Friday was Jeff's day off. We got calls all day about Uncle Bob's status, and finally went to see him in the evening. We only went in for a few minutes. Since he's in the critical care unit overflow, the girls couldn't go in at all... (I had been asking my dad that and it would have been nice if he would have just read the sign and told me that. All he would say was he didn't know if it was a good idea, he never said it was a rule.) At that point they were not thinking he was going to pull through. Today he is given a 90% chance of survival.

Let me backtrack a little. Thursday we found out that he was going to the hospital. He has ALS, as I've mentioned before; he had pneumonia, a really bad case that had progressed to sepsis. And of course because of the ALS it's harder for him to fight things off, especially things that involve breathing.

It was really hard to see him in the hospital. While we were waiting to hear if he'd even be awake for us to go see him and such, we ended up going to the thrift store. I did find some awesome books. I listed them on eBay but if they don't sell I think I'm keeping them!!!

Then Saturday we got up early and I headed to choir practice. After I got done with that we went to my mom's house but on the way hit a yard sale. I got a Pack and Play for $3, and a whole bunch of clothes for the girls (mostly winter clothes for Bridey; Emma skipped from a 2T to a 4T and Bridey is firmly a 3T, we don't have a lot of clothes that fit her, but a few for Emma and Maggie, too) for 25 cents a piece. Then we went to my mom's; her former boss (retired) was there, and they took pictures of Maggie doing different things for a presentation they're making for parents on what to do and not to do to ensure a nice round head in your baby (preventing positional plagiocephaly, which has spiked really high since the "Back to Sleep" campaign started, with proper positioning techniques, tummy time, etc.) She made us spaghetti for lunch. We all enjoyed that.

We didn't make the evening session of Stake Conference Saturday night because it is "adults only" and there's no way we could keep the kids under control and not disturb people, and we didn't have a babysitter.

This morning we were at the Stake Center at 8:30 for choir practice again. When we finished the last song, Bridget was ready to go, poor thing! (It did not make sense for them to go home and come back because they'd only end up with 15 minutes at home or so before it was time to come back-- and they'd lose the sweet parking spot we scored, actually in the SC parking lot instead of in the school parking lot backing up to the SC, so 10 minutes less of walking, and even in the shade!)

Stake Conference was good. I heard a lot of things I needed to hear. In particular I loved the Primary President's talk. I really needed that one, though she directed it to the children it was for the parents just as much. And I was interested to hear the big focus on getting out of consumer debt; our stake has been challenged by our Stake President (who used to be my bishop and I love him and his family so much) to be consumer debt free by 2010 (this is not inculding houses and school loans but is including cars, credit cards, and everything else.) Luckily we are in a position where we have already been able to start paying this debt off. We may have another car payment by then, but are hoping to have it mostly paid off. (We will have to get another car if we have another child, because we're using all the seats in our Corolla right now!) And there was also emphasis on teaching our children and those around us good spending/saving habits. The Primary children are going to be provided with savings banks from the Stake Presidency that have 3 parts; one for tithing, one for saving for a mission or education, and one for spending.

The choir was so big we overflowed the rather poorly designed loft, and three or four of us had to be down on the pews and walk up. However we had less than we had thought so there were 3 empty rows that had been reserved for us; I volunteered to sit down there and got to have my family with me. A very nice lady held Maggie through much of the meeting so I could get up and down with the choir. Emma fell asleep on the pew; Jeff took Bridey and later Maggie too to the Nursery room (where they had toys out and also had a video feed from the chapel so the adults could hear the talks.)

I had an asthma attack near the end. It was pretty bad; it took 6 hits from my inhaler to even start breathing properly and 2 more before I was completely breathing. I was shaking so badly from the albuterol when we got up to sing the closing number that I forgot I was supposed to sing second soprano until halfway through the verse... Oops... I did manage to hit the high note at the end, though. (One of the first sopranos couldn't hit the note so she switched parts with me just for the last line.) We sang my favorite arrangement of "The Spirit of God." I really love this one because it's so powerful, especially if you think of it the way I do, as a metaphor. See, it starts out with a solo tenor voice. Then the tenor is joined by a baritone. Then they are joined by a small group of men, then all the men, then the women, and in our case we added the congregation on the last verse. I think of it like a metaphor for the growth of the church and it has always added a lot to my appreciation of the piece.

So anyway... It was a weekend of ups and downs. I don't really know how much longer Uncle Bob is going to last. As much as for his sake I hope he does not have to suffer too long in a body that doesn't work while he retains full consciousness of what is going on, I hope for our sake to have him a little longer. It's confusing and it hurts and... Well, I guess I will just have to try to appreciate whatever time we are given to be with him. There are some things I want to do with him. I want him to hear Emma do her reading lessons before he goes, that would make him so proud (he's one I really talked things out with before deciding to homeschool, before his diagnosis and before he went downhill so fast, physically speaking.) And I want him to see Emma dance. And I want him to see Maggie grow and Bridget mature. But I don't know how much of that will even be possible (well, in this world. I'm sure he'll care for them after he is gone. But you know what I mean.)

This dying stuff is hard. :(

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