Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's been over a week since Juta went into the hospital, and there is not much improvement. Her pain is better, but she still takes lots of drugs. Other things have developed as well, as is what happens when a 90-year-old lays around for a week without moving. She's become weak and dehydrated, as she just hasn't eaten much since last week, even with Tom coaxing her. So now there's an IV to get her re-hydrated. Once Juta is stable, she can move to the rehab center and get some strength back. It'll be a struggle, since sometimes she seems to just give up. Tom and I are really hoping for a good outcome. It's so hard to see her so miserable.

I've actually begun to pray. I haven't done that since my own mother was ill. I'm praying for some kind of relief for Juta; either recovery, or passing to the next (better) world. I hope that's ok with her...

I've posted some pictures of Juta's house and yard in Morton Grove. I hope it's things like these that she's thinking about as she lays in her bed, not the pain she has right now.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Here and gone!

Yesterday, my mother-in-law, Juta, moved into our house. Tom and I and some friends rented a truck and moved most of her stuff from her apartment to here. She is 90 years old, and has been having trouble taking care of herself. Her room is all set up, save for pictures on the wall. Her personal care items are in the bathroom. Mickey, her cat, is hiding in the basement. We thought all was well.

It turns out that the fall she took in her apartment yesterday morning was worse than we all thought. She tripped on something while shuffling to the bathroom, but said she was ok, so we thought nothing of it. Until later in the day when her pain was so great she couldn't get out of her chair, we decided to take her to the ER--she could have broken a bone or something. But, Tom couldn't get her up, so we called the paramedics. There were flashing lights and sirens and everything. The neighbors were very interested. The EMTs were very nice, and took her to the hospital right away. She's still there, and will be for several more days until she is able to get up and move around on her own.
Then she finally be able to come...home!

This is Juta on her 90th birthday this last February. A pretty typical look for her. She's a character...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Highs and Lows

Sunday evening, I returned a call to my old friend Sylvia. (That's her on the right. I'm on the left...can you tell?) She and I grew up together in Milwaukee, our moms were good friends, we went to Esto camp together, and got married the same year, a week apart. She then moved to California, and I haven't seen her since. She was in town to visit her now 90 year old mother, and she wanted to get together. She and her husband, Hank, came over for some wine, some conversation, and some dinner, expertly made by Tom. It was really nice to see her again, as she has had some serious health problems in the past. She is also an artist, a painter, so we talked art and fear and acknowledgment. It was a great evening.

Last night Erika played clarinet in the Wauwatosa Community Band concert. Tom and I were there, along with Brian, Erika's husband, and David and Martha, Erika's dad and step-mom. It was just like going to all those school programs when the kids were little. The band is good, and, of course, Erika is the BEST one! ;) It was a fun evening.

SInce I just filled the bird feeders, and added suet and oranges, I check it out each morning. Today I saw Baltimore orioles, blue jays, goldfinches, cardinals and a woodpecker at the feeder, along with a few squirrels, junkos and a chipmunk underneath looking for leftovers. It was a riot of fauna color in the rain. It was a fun morning.

And then, I got an email from a dear friend up north who had been having some minor health issues. Well, she was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). I cried as I read that she was told she'd be in a wheelchair within months. I really want to help her, or cheer her, or just yell at the gods for allowing such an unfair, tragic situation. But--I'll take my cue from her strength and her faith, and let her tell me what she needs, and when she needs it. Then I'll do what I can for her. It is not a good day.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day. My kids came through with phone calls and flowers. Julie called from Seattle to wish me a good day and chat a bit. I miss her more than usual today.
Then Erika came over with a beautiful card and bouquet of flowers, including just one carnation. She said this was for all those times that, as a kid, I had to pin carnations on all the moms that came to the International Institute for the Mother's Day program. The smell of carnations takes me right back to those days...I don't ever remember telling her that story, so it was a neat surprise!
We also took some time out and went for coffee. It was fun, as she aways makes me laugh.
I am a lucky mom to have such delightful daughters.

Of course, I've been thinking about my own mother, Taala Ostrovskis. She died in 1997 and I still miss her every day. For a few years after she passed away, my girls and I would take a few of her ashes and scatter them at some of her favorite places in town: the lakefront at Northpoint, the botanical gardens at Mitchell Park, the Washington Park lagoon. We did this on Mother's Day and her birthday in August. We haven't done this for a year or two, as mom wanted some of her ashes scattered on the old family cemetery plot on Saaremaa, in Estonia. So--I need to save some for whenever I get there.

I wish I had a picture of her in digital form, although I have hundreds of snapshots. I'll scan a few and post them soon. Happy Mother's Day, ema, where ever you are.

Friday, May 8, 2009

OMG--I've done it!

I actually ordered something from QVC! Shoes!! I have always resisted buying anything from home shopping TV, although I often order clothing from the internet. I don't know why the distinction--I guess I get the image of an old lady watching TV just for the company and calling to order something just to speak to someone.
Hopefully, I'll never be in that place. LOL. I just liked the shoes and they were cheap. So, there it is then.
I seem to have been sort of busy lately, although it feels like I haven't accomplished much of anything. A very frustrating place to be. Tom and I have had a lot to do so that his mom, Juta, can move into our home next week. He has been particularly stressed, since it falls on him to deal with her and her problems day to day. With all of this, we've also had extra expenses getting her room ready--new furniture, packing and moving, etc.
It certainly didn't help when Georgie decided to chew up my eyeglasses. I left them on the coffee table overnight and woke up to find the lenses chewed and the frames bent to bits. So--off to the optometrist for a new pair to the tune of almost $500. Believe me, I will be protective of them from now on.... can this sweet puppy be such a little siitaratas...?