Monday, January 17, 2011

Eli- 9 months old

My little monkey is 20.15 lbs and 30 inches tall. He is eating baby food, table food and breast milk. He loves to eat table food. It is so cute to watch that little finger pick up the pieces. He is saying  "mama", "dada", "hey", "uh oh", "bye", and recently within the past two days "bite" (with the sign) and "ball". Still not walking.. I was sure he would walk at the end of his ninth month. He is sooo close he just won't take off. He is really weaning himself because he is so busy he doesn't want to take the time to nurse during the day. Now that I am back to work I am trying to get my mom to only give him one bottle. I did try some cow's milk in a sippy and he wasn't a fan.. he spit it out! He may not be a fan of cow milk but he is definitely a fan of food... anything you poke in there he will eat and he gets downright angry when you are eating and not feeding him something. Also his favorite color is blue! Yes, I know he is 9 months but he seriously has color preference. We kept noticing that he would gravitate toward blue... the blue ring, blue ball, blue car... so we decided to test him. He has this ball pit he got for Christmas and it has 50 balls (red, green, yellow, and blue). We took all the blue balls out except one and he crawled around the ball pit throwing balls until he found the blue ball. Then we took the balls and put them in our lap Indian style and hid the blue one at the bottom. Well, he searched through all those balls until he found the blue one. We have tried it on other toys too and he is consistent and does it every time. He is saying 'ball' and will go find the ball if you ask him, "where is the ball?". He has enjoyed playing with his older cousin (20 month old) Carter the past two weeks and thinks he needs to be a toddler too! Cross my fingers but we have been on a sleep streak... 830- 7:30! Love my baby boy :)

Hard times

~ I really wrote this so I could have it recorded and never forget~

Tuesday, December 7th I was in my classroom at school and I had a call to my classroom saying that it was Josh and I needed to take the call. He told me that my aunt was trying to reach me because my dad was on his way to Mission's emergency room with a collapsed lung and he was driving himself up there. Josh said he would be at the ER waiting since he works very near the hospital. I tried frantically to call Daddy but couldn't get him on the phone. When I was finally able to reach him he had already picked up a family friend/cousin to ride with him to Asheville.. I was relieved that he wasn't by himself and I told him I would meet him up at the hospital. We got to the ER and of course waited and waited.. they wanted to do a CT because the chest x-ray he brought from McDowell hospital showed the left lung completely whited out.  Daddy had been feeling bad several weeks and had been treated with antibiotics for bronchitis and was on cough medicine. His cough kept continuing so he went back to his doctor (an 84 year old man still practicing medicine) and the doc finally decided to get a chest x-ray. When the results came back that showed the whited out lung he told Dad to go straight to Mission hospital. So when the ER doctor came back with the results he told us there was a mass blocking the airway to the left lung. He said that the pulmonologist would be in to see us. When the pulmonologist came in he mentioned that there was a possibility it was cancer but they would need to do a bronchoscopy and biopsy to determine what the mass was. I was stunned, shocked and in tears but trying to hold it together and cling to hope that it was not going to be cancer. He didn't want me to call Aunt Jane and Audra until we knew more information but I went to the bathroom and called because I knew if the situation was reversed I would want to know. The doctor put dad on 2 liters of oxygen and admitted him to a room in the hospital.

Josh and I went home about 11:30 and left Eli and Isaac with my mom and step-dad (Eli's first night away from us) and crashed. The next morning Josh took me back up to the hospital... they had taken Daddy earlier than they said they were for the bronchoscopy so I finally found the waiting room for that area and waited to hear. Josh went back across the street because his annual review was that morning. I called him and told him as soon as it was over he needed to come back because I couldn't be in the waiting room alone when the doctor came in. The pulmonologist came in around 2:00 after the procedure was finished and said that he biopsied the mass and the two lymph nodes that were in the area. He said that the lymph nodes were enlarged and that it was most likely cancer possibly stage 3 but would not know until the tests were back. I called Aunt Jane and Audra straight away and they both made plans to come home. The doctor said I could go back and see my Daddy. I went into the recovery room and he was laying there and handed me his gold cross necklace where they had taken it off for the procedure. I held his hand and kissed his head. We stayed for a while until they were ready to take him back upstairs. We left, went to eat lunch and brought Dad back a burrito from Papas and Beer. He was hungry because he hadn't had anything to eat all day because of the procedure. Several visitors came in and out  and Aunt Jane and Audra arrived that evening.

The next day, Thursday was a blur. People were in and out of the hospital and we waited and waited to hear the results. Friday, the results were in and it was indeed cancer. Now the doctors said it could be stage 3 or 4. Daddy said he would do radiation and chemo and fight. Daddy always joked with everyone and when I asked him "What am I going to do with you?" he replied "What ever you do you better do it fast.". He was always laughing even in the midst of this awful news. Of course I reprimanded him and said he better not say things like that and it wasn't something to joke about.  I laid beside him on his hospital bed trying to keep the tears from flowing.

Friday, December 10th, (my sister's birthday)  Daddy came home from the hospital. We were at the hospital early that morning and they let him go around 11:00. We went straight to Dr. Black's (the radiation oncologist) office and they did scans so that he could get started on radiation and chemo. He didn't feel like stopping to eat so we went straight to his house. He was so tired from being in the hospital and being poked and prodded and woken all hours of the night.

Wednesday, December 15th, Daddy started radiation.  I went back to work Monday but left early that Wednesday and met him and Aunt Jane at the radiation office in Marion. The technician said that we would meet with the doctor weekly for updates.

Saturday, December 18th, Katy Cook came and took family pictures of us all. Josh, the boys and I had on creme/brown, Audra's family green, Aunt Jane and Uncle Richard in royal blue and Daddy had on gray slacks and a light blue collard shirt. Katy was great, so quick and efficient and took great shots. I will post a few on the bottom of this post. It was cold and there was snow still on the ground. Daddy hugged us tight and gave us a few funny looks in a couple shots. We took pictures of him and the grandboys, him with my sister and I , and the whole family together. I am so thankful that we have these pictures.

The next week flew by... I was out on the 21st and came up to see Dad and Aunt Jane.

Saturday, December 25th, Christmas day. A white Christmas. Our last Christmas together. We pushed Christmas get togethers with the rest of the family to Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas because we wanted to spend Christmas day with Daddy. We had the traditional 'steaks and chicken', salad and potatoes. When my sister would come in for the weekend we would always go to Daddy's on Saturday nights and have his famous grilled steaks. He would use the charcoal or regular grill but they would always be grilled to perfection. Daddy didn't feel up to grilling so Chris did the honors for Christmas. Aunt Jane brought out the 'crackers' a English classic that she likes to do each year and this year they were even more special. Each one had a whistle with a number. We gave Daddy the directors wand and he tried to point to each of us (as told on the music sheet) in order to play Christmas tunes. As you can imagine it didn't go very well but we had fun doing it. We exchanged gifts.. money from Daddy, and beautiful wedding collector ornaments and money from Aunt Jane. He gave Isaac and Eli money also because we had talked about getting Eli's lifetime hunting/fishing license while he was under one. I had made Daddy a calender for 2011 with pictures of all of us from our previous trips and wrote special notes on each month encouraging him to fight hard and to remind him each month of how much he was loved. I also got him a book and a new hat with built in fleece to keep his ears warm.

Thursday, December 30th, I met Daddy and Aunt Jane at the radiologist for his appointment. I worked my extra jobs that day because they called me in and then took a pot roast that I bought and Mom graciously cooked up to Daddy for dinner. He was feeling better that evening and was sitting at the dining table eating country style steak when I walked in. I told him he could eat his pot roast the next day. He asked if I was hungry and I grabbed a plate and sat down beside him. He and Aunt Jane were watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune... a tradition that him and my grandmother always did. We chatted and he joked around. He tried to put lotion on his fingers where he burned them a few days ago on the coffee pot and was having trouble so I squirted a bit on each finger for him. I can still picture him rubbing it in on his hands. I petted his head and joked that I would shave his head for him so he didn't' have to loose his hair. He said he had too many places on his head and was afraid they would get nicked. He talked about how he wished he would have taken better care of himself when he was younger.  I was so thankful he was feeling better. I told him that Josh, Isaac and I made spur of the moment plans to go to Gatlinburg for New Year's eve. He said to be careful and have fun. I gave him kisses and told him I loved him as I always do. This was the last time I would see him alive.

Monday, January 3rd 2011. I was at work at my desk and at 8:15 am I called Aunt Jane to check on Dad (when I called Sunday night to check in Aunt Jane said he had a rough day). She was crying.. I said "what? "what?" and she said "Your dad is cold and won't wake up.. I think he is dead!". She said she had called 911. I screamed 'No!, No! No! and grabbed my things and ran up the hallway to the office hysterical. My principal and office staff took me in the office and called Josh. Josh was half way to work and he turned around and did 85 mph down the mountain to come get me. They also called Mom, and I ended up calling Chris and telling him to go to Audra.  I was weeping uncontrollably the entire way up the mountain. When I got to the house I saw the ambulance pulling out. I ran in and said "Where is he?" Aunt Jane told me he was in the bedroom and had died in middle of the night while he was sleeping. The funeral home arrived not long later. I did see him before the took his body. My sweet Daddy that loved me so much. Monday was a blur, soo many people in and out.

Tuesday, January 4th. We picked out his clothes (the same ones that he had just had his picture in) and brought them to the funeral home. We picked out a coffin (a simple dark colored walnut coffin), ordered flowers, wrote an obituary, pick out a spot in the cemetery, picked out a headstone, and got pictures together.

Wednesday, January 5th, we were up at Daddy's house with Aunt Jane most of the day. We went to the funeral home and watched the slide show and viewed Daddy's body.

Thursday, January 6th, we had lunch provided by the Presbyterian church and then had the receiving of friends at Grassy Creek Baptist church from 3:30-5:30 with the funeral after. We started receiving friends at 3:15 and there was a steady line of people until the funeral started. The church was full... so many people and lives he had touched. The pastor from the Presbyterian church where Dad attended and my pastor did the service together. Our cousins Paul and Marion Boyd sang. Everyone commented on what a nice service. We had a meal provided my church and school afterwards.

Friday, January 7th at 10:00 am we buried Daddy. We buried him beside his mama, my sweet Bubba that passed away October 8th last year from lung cancer. It was snowing.

I miss you so much Daddy! You were the best dad a girl could EVER wish for and I love you with all my heart!