Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Day and Following

There were a few moments earlier in the week when I wondered if I would be able to pull off the Thanksgiving dinner that I had been so looking forward to. But each day got a little better, and it was a success! By Thanksgiving morning my cold/flu was pretty well behind me and my head trauma was healing nicely. The only thing that still bothered me (and still does) was a pain in my rib cage, which must be a result of the fall.

I did a lot of the preparation on Wednesday, and then, on Thanksgiving morning Dan drove out to Mother Neff Park and picked up Kelsey so she could come and help me finish getting the meal ready. Clara came, too, so we had a nice morning together - just us girls. Around 11:00 a.m. Kelsey, Clara and I drove to Belton and picked up Mom and brought her to the house for the festivities.

The guys showed up around noon - Chris and Robert, and their good friend, Jason (aka J-Dog), and his father, Jon, whom we hadn't met before. All in all, nine folks to gather for the Thanksgiving feast. Oh, I almost forgot that there were two others - Max, the kids' dog; and Zeph, Jason's dog. They enjoyed a beautiful sunny day in the back yard.

Clara and Max, playing in the back yard. Notice Clara's new fashion statement - glasses!
Chris and Robert - two of the special men in my life

Mom, Clara, Robert and I. The sun coming through the window made it a difficult shot, but it's better than no picture at all!

Robert loves our living room rug, because it has roads and a round-about for his cars.
For Friday, Kelsey planned a birthday celebration out at camp. Robert, Clara and Jason all have birthdays in the couple weeks around Thanksgiving (Clara's 9th and Robert's 5th). Clara and Robert knew that there was going to be a party, but it was to be a surprise for J-Dog. It is sooooo hard for a five-year old boy to keep such a big secret like that, but Robert did it!

Kelsey baked the cupcakes at camp, and that takes some talent!
 J-Dog was surprised that he was one of the three birthday honorees.

Kelsey brought a pretty table decoration, but the wind kicked up a bit right at party-time, so what better to keep it on the table than a strip of duct tape (the camper's secret weapon) up and over the top!!! 

J-dog was such a good sport, joining in on the scavenger hunt, playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, and blowing out the imaginary candles, just like one of the kids.

The birthday kids heading to the stump - to find the next scavenger hunt clue.

Clara reads the clue aloud, and everyone tries to guess where to go next.

"Come on J-Dog! Hurry!"

The end of the hunt - and a bag of prizes for the three participants.

Clara gets spun around before trying to pin the tail on the donkey.

Kelsey's turn!

Robert models one of his birthday gifts.

Maybe Kelsey needs her own TMNT cap for Christmas!
Jason is a superb campfire chef! He pretty much takes care of all the meals. That's Jon, his dad, reading in the background.

Dan and Jon really hit it off and spent most of both days in never-ending conversation.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Just Another Day in the ER

Dan and I have both been fighting head and chest congestion and coughs for a week or so. I think I came down with it a day or so earlier than Dan, but he was the first one to start the DRAMA. I can't remember what night it was that he woke in the wee hours in a bit of a panic because he was so dizzy that he thought the room was spinning. It made him sick, and he had several episodes of nausea and vomiting. Oh my! He had stopped spinning by the next morning, and we figured it had been caused by the head congestion . . . maybe an inner ear problem or something.

The congestion and coughing continued day after day for both of us. On Saturday night Dan said he was planning to stay home from church, because he was still feeling awful. I thought I could make it, though, so got up at 7:00 yesterday morning and started to get ready for church. I went into the bathroom and brushed my teeth. Right about then I knew that things weren't right. I was very light-headed, nauseous, and had a ringing in my ears. I was seeing stars.

That was the last thing I remember until I heard Dan, calling though the bathroom door, "Linda, are you all right?" I heard him, but didn't know why he was asking me that.  I managed to open my eyes than, and saw that I was lying on the floor, in front of the bathroom door, with my head against the threshold to the shower. I was so confused. Then, again, Dan called, "Linda! Did you fall?" I answered, "I don't know. But I'm on the floor!" I felt quite comfortable lying there and didn't want to move. Dan tried to get in, but I was blocking the door. He got me to move a little and came in. He discovered that my head was in a pool of blood, and there was blood splattered all over the place. He tried to get me to sit up, but it made me too nauseous, so I continued to lie on the floor. He put a compress on my head where he thought the blood was coming from and called 911. Remember, he was so sick that he wasn't planning to go to church, and he didn't feel like he could safely drive me to the ER.

The EMTs were at our door VERY quickly. They wheeled me out to the ambulance and whisked me off to the hospital. On the way they drew blood and started an IV.

I was taken into the trauma room as soon as we arrived. They asked me all sorts of questions, many of which I couldn't answer, because I really didn't know what had happened except that I somehow lost consciousness and fell. It turned out I had a pretty deep cut on the top of my scalp, which took seven staples to close. They took me for a CT scan and did an EKG, then said the doctor would be back to talk with me after the results of those tests and my blood work came back.

About then our preacher, Rodney, and his wife, Janet, came in. They were all dressed up for church, and I had to giggle seeing them like that when I was still in my flannel pajamas, splattered with blood, and my head a jumbled mass of bloody hair. They told me that Dan had called and said that he was too sick to make it to the hospital. Rodney had to leave after a little bit - a whole congregation was waiting for him - but Janet stayed with me until I was released. Janet and I have become good friends, so it was good to have her there with me.

Pretty soon a nurse came in and said that there was a call for me from my daughter-in-law. She brought me the telephone and put the call through to me. It was really sweet to hear Kelsey's voice. She told me that Chris was coming. I talked to Chris soon after, and tried to talk him out of making the 3-hour drive, but he was only an hour or so away by then and insisted on coming. He got to the hospital just after they released me - all my tests came out okay. He took me home and then went to the grocery store to get some soup and canned fruit for us, and medicine for Dan. I am so blessed to have two wonderful sons and the best d-i-l in the world!

Today is a new day. I'm feeling much better. A wee bit light-headed at times, but NOTHING like yesterday morning. I have an appointment to see my primary care doc tomorrow morning.

And I'm determined to be fit as a fiddle by Thursday (although still sporting staples in my scalp), so I can have a nice Thanksgiving spread for my family and friends. Because I do have a LOT to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Weekend Festivities

This was the big race weekend for Dan and Chris. Dan left early on Friday morning to meet up with Chris and some of Chris' friends, all of whom were staying in a motel in Bastrop for the three-day Formula 1 event. You may remember that it was Dan's goal to have his "new knees" strong enough to handle the rigors of this strenuous event.

While it was race weekend for the guys, it was Halloween weekend for Kelsey, the grandkids, and me! I drove over on Friday morning and returned this afternoon.

Pumpkin carving took place on Friday, after Clara got home from school. The kids couldn't agree on whether the eyes should be circles or triangles, so we chose to do one of each. The same for the mouth . . . Clara wanted the teeth to match her own nearly-toothless grin, but Robert wanted "pointy teeth." So Jack got Clara-teeth on top and pointy-teeth on the bottom. Robert had no desire to touch the slimy insides of the pumpkin, but Clara dug right in. She also did much of the actual carving this year, with Kelsey taking over only at the end, when Clara's wrists were getting tired.

Matching top teeth.

Kelsey has been the Queen of Halloween Costumes for as long as I've known her. Even before the kids came along, she made wild and wonderful themed costumes for Chris and herself. And ever since Robert started trick-or-treating, the kids have worn coordinated costumes (Clara as Princess Leia and Robert as Yoda; Robert as a fireman and Clara as a dalmatian; Clara as Alice and Robert as the Cheshire Cat; etc.). But this year she reluctantly let the kids pick their own store-bought costumes. It was a difficult thing for her to do, and she has already started trying to talk them into the old tradition of coordinated costumes for next year. 

Robert went trick-or-treating as a Power Ranger this year. He recently discovered that TV program on Netflix and thinks the Rangers are the coolest super-heroes ever (only rivaled by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). He is taking Tae Kwon Do lessons this year, so he had some awesome Power Ranger moves to try out.

Clara chose a monster costume, but it was a pretty cute monster.

We started our trick-or-treating at dusk. The first house we went to was their next door neighbors, a sweet couple who dotes on the kids almost as much as grandparents! 

As it got darker, some of the houses were a bit spookier. A lot of the home-owners were sitting on their porches or in their driveways to hand out treats.

Clara thought I should have a costume, too, so loaned me her Minnie Mouse ears (from her summer Disneyland trip) to wear for the evening. Here's a strange selfie of me, showing my cute ears. As you see, I'm carrying Robert's pumpkin ("Grandma, please carry it for me. It's too heavy!").

At one house there were two people sitting outside and a couple of what looked like mannequins dressed up like Grim Reapers. When Clara went up to get her treat, one of them came to life and jumped out at her. She screamed and ran, and, from that point on, both kids were leery about going up to many of the doors. 

But all-in-all it was a fun and successful Halloween night. When we got home Robert put on his pajamas and started sorting out his candy. Clara came to help him with the daunting job. Quite a haul, which explains why his pumpkin was too heavy for him to carry.

The next day - Saturday - was a relaxing day. Robert played most of the day with his Disney cars. He spent a couple hours, at least, running a race, which started with the lineup: 

He even set four of the cars up on the couch, and they were the race announcers. His method for racing the cars is somewhat complex. He races them around the corner of the couch, toward a finish line, keeping track of which cars have lapped the others. The race itself kept him occupied for a couple hours.

In the afternoon Kelsey and I sat outside and watched as the kids rode their bikes, scooters, and Robert's Jeep. 

We had a few quiet times on Saturday, as well. Clara spent a half-hour on my iPad, learning to play Farkle. And Robert let me read to him for awhile. That evening we had popcorn and watched The Nightmare Before Christmas on TV - a great ending to the Halloween festivities.

And as long we're speaking of the grandchildren, let me do a little grandma-bragging on them. Clara is now in third grade and recently brought home her first report card of the year - all "A"s! She's also participating in the school choir. Robert is in pre-school and is a member of the "100 Club." That means he can count to 100!

I got home late in the afternoon on Sunday. Dan didn't get home until after dark. Here's his good news . . . his new knees stayed strong and pain-free for all three days at the races.