Wednesday, March 30, 2011


It's 1:30 in Birmingham, AL and Mac is now in surgery. I spoke to the cardiac surgeon yesterday and he told me Mac has to have his micro valve replaced because it's heavily calcified. He has pulminary vascular hypertension which has caused his tricuspid valve to be in such terrible shape that they will have to repair or replace that one. His aortic valve might be able to be repaired but if he has to replace it, that means a full blown chest open heart surgery.

What's so frustrating is that Mac has known about this for 2 years. His doctor told him he needed heart surgery to fix his micro valve and Mac being the stubborn goat he is, and living out in the Mississippi boonies for the last 25 years, and never having had surgery of any kind...put it off! 2 years ago I decided that the internet was Mac's enemy. He convinced Paul & I that he needed a certain kind of heart surgery called the DaVinci Method and that he needed to have it done at the Cleveland Clinic. So, Paul & I thought both Mac and my mom could come up here and Mac could have the surgery and he could recuperate here and we would help him and take care of him. A tricky part was convincing my mom to make the trip up here. Wendy and I talked my mom into it and after getting that all settled, Paul asked Mac when the Dr. wanted to see him here in Cleveland etc. That's when Mac told us that his Dr. didn't say he needed the DaVinci method...Mac read about it online! Sheesh, what a let down. So from that day forward, Mac did all kinds of research online and actually scared himself to death about having open heart surgery.

When my sister went down to MS to help my mom get into a nursing home, Mac was at the hospital meeting with a cardiac surgeon in Gulfport and because they don't do the DaVinci Method there, he checked himself out against doctors orders. The only place close to MS we could find was the hospital in Birmingham. Luckily the cardiac surgeon, Dr. Lewis was kind enough to speak to Wendy and set up an appointment to see Mac. So, that was over a week ago and now Dr. Lewis is working on Mac. He told me if the aortic valve could be repaired, then he wouldn't have to go through the front of his chest and ribcage.

Wendy left this morning to drive down and be with Mac so at least he has "a" family member there when he wakes up. It's too heartbreaking to think of him all alone. I'll go down and relieve Wendy in a week or so..that's the plan anyway. But...I know how quickly plans can change.

I hope soon that my posts here are going to be more on a happier note with some scrapbook pages and grandchildren photos and stories.

For now, Dr. Lewis should call soon and I'm just waiting... Here's a picture of my mom, me and Mac at the nursing home:

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Bittersweet is defined as something that is both "bitter" or painful and "sweet" or pleasant. This visit with my mom has certainly been bittersweet. Wendy came down to Mississippi on February 22nd to work on some business with FEMA and since our family lives here it was a great opportunity for her to get to see mom, Mac(my step-dad), Jason(her son), Chris(my brother), and Kim(my sister). We've been talking for at least a year now (Wendy and I), about how nice it would be if mom was getting properly cared for. Mac, bless his heart has tried to take care of mom, but then again, he likes to think he knows mom better than any doctor or even her children for that matter. Wendy has worked sooo hard to get mom into a nice nursing home while she was down there visiting.

My mom had to stay in the hospital for 3 days and the Dr. ran tests. Here's a picture of my mom with Chris at the hospital:

I landed up flying down to MS on March 10th to help Wendy with all the Medicaid paperwork and power of attorney etc. If nothing else, to give moral support since she wasn't getting any help at all from the rest of the family living down there (except for Jason). Chris doesn't have ANY time left in his day after driving 2 hours to and from work. His wife Deb also works. My little sister Kim is unfortunately a totally dysfunctional family member which I choose not to go into right now (that's a whole different story and this one today is about my mom), so she is no help. So, I spent a week helping Wendy and we managed to get everything done.
After mom stayed at the hospital for 3 days, she was moved to the Nursing Rehab Center into a nice room with another lady who just so happens to have the same first name..June! She's a wonderful woman who has been very kind to my mom. 'They are in the rehab section until my mom's Medicaid gets approved and then she'll move into the nursing home section. Not sure if her room-mate will be staying but I doubt it. The rehab section is just for that purpose but my mom will move into the nursing home section soon.
It was so nice to visit her. We (Wendy & I) would go twice a day to visit and if there was one thing my mom was very aware of is, we live in Ohio and we would be leaving to go back..soon. Bless her heart. She was so happy to see us everyday. The facility is nice and has a whole flock of peacocks living on the grounds. My mom is enthralled by the creatures. Here's a picture of her in the dining room looking out into the courtyard at one:

Trying to make my mom feel comfortable in her new surroundings, we bought her a few things. One thing we found at Cracker Barrel was a butterfly coloring book. My mom was an artist and she would paint gorgeous paintings and I thought if I could find an "adult" coloring book that maybe she could find some peace and joy in coloring. She loved it:
Me showing mom her coloring book.
Let's color mom :)

So, now we are back home and currently dealing with my step-dad Mac and his declining health. Such a shame that there is no one down in MS to help him and we have to do this long distance. I'll chat about him soon.
As I close, here's a couple of pictures of my mom from the last week. A totally different mom from the first picture with Chris in the hospital! We have it set up to where she gets her hair done once a week and even has her nails painted!! Just what my mom needs, a little pampering!!
My mom and me. We got a chuckle out of her!!

My little sister Wendy with my mom. 

Close up of my mom holding Wendy's hand. I don't think my mom has had her nails done in over 15 years..what a treat for her!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Clean up!

Well, today Paul & I cleaned out the closet in the basement. The rest of the basement is dry but the closet had some cardboard boxes on the floor and some plastic ones, so we needed to go through it. It really was due for a clearing out. I came across a folder that belong to my oldest son Eric. This had papers from pre-school and 1st grade! It was a great find considering he's 33. I also found in the folder a picture...