Monthly Archives: May 2014

Four Leaf Clover

4 leaf clover

Today was a beautiful Spring Day.  The perfect temperature, a gentle breeze, exactly what you would think of when you think of Spring! I started my day with a Barre class and wound up being the only one there so it was a private lesson and after nearly two weeks of not being able to get to a class with my dad in the hospital and other commitments, it was a great way to get back into it – thanks Nerissa – I loved class!!

I went to visit my dad in the hospital.  He seems to be recovering a lot more quickly this time.  He had physical therapy today and the woman had him up and walking with a walker.  He got about four rooms down from his own room which is further than he has moved in more than a week.  More PT tomorrow and then we will see what the plan is.  He seemed very pleased about being up and around.

Drew had a soccer game and sitting out in the grass for nearly two hours on this gorgeous day almost made me feel guilty because I wasn’t doing anything.  I sat with a soccer mom friend of mine, Mary.  Her youngest son was sitting with us.  He is in first grade.  At the beginning of the game, Mary mentioned to me that she loved reading my blog and she asked how my dad was doing.  I filled her in on dad and then told her I had just been thinking about the blog because I wasn’t sure what to write about, the glorious weather?  Dad?

When the game was over, her son showed me a three leaf clover he had found in the grass.  I realized that the entire time, I had been sitting on a patch of clovers.  I asked him if he’d ever found a four leafed one and he said no.  I told him neither did I.  An old friend of mine from high school, Holly, finds them regularly.  Almost to the point of it being a joke!  She always posts a picture of them on Facebook and people are always commenting on it.  In my forty-four years, I truly have never found one but today, as I looked down, there was one right by my leg.  A tiny one, but sure enough, it had four leaves on it.  I picked it, took a photo and sent the picture to Holly.  Maybe its my lucky day!?!?  I am headed to a school auction and tricky tray tonight, so I sure hope so!!!

The best part of it all, was when Mary’s son, who I didn’t think had been listening to our conversation said to me, “Well, I guess now you know what you can write about in your blog!”  He was right

Here we go again…


Dave was able to get my dad to the doctor today.  It was suggested that he return to the hospital because he was running a fever again.  Dave stayed with him all day – in the emergency room because there were no available rooms.  They did more scans to check his brain,  vascular test to look for blood clots and a few more.  Fortunately all came back negative but his white bl0od count is high so they are keeping him there.  Dave said my dad wouldn’t stop saying that he made a mistake and left too early.  He thinks everyone is going to be mad at him.  No one is mad.  We are all relieved that he is back in the hospital getting the care he needs.  It is truly the best place for him right now.

They spent HOURS in the ER.  I had an doctor’s appointment for myself after school and after that, I went up to see him.  He was still in the ER and waiting for a room.  I recognized one of the nurses, MJ was her name.  She had been my mom’s nurse while she was there.  Dad thought that was a good sign.   He was charming to all of the nurses – quite the different mood from when he was begging to leave on Wednesday.  A few minutes after I got there, his transport arrived for his room.  Dad said, I must have been the lucky charm.   Maybe….

The real “sign” we noticed, as they wheeled him into his new room was one hanging on the wall.


That’s my grandma!  The room was dedicated to her sister, our Aunt Dee!  What an incredible coincidence.   I know that made dad feel good.  He called grandma to tell her about it.  Now, we have to convince him to stay until the doctors and nurses think he is ready to leave – and not any earlier!  I think he will listen this time!  🙂

Too Early??

small steps

My dad came home from the hospital last night.  Too soon in my opinion.  I said it more than once but he refused to stay and my brothers agreed with him, so at 11 pm last night, Dave went and picked him up and took him home.  His fever might be down, his blood pressure might be regular BUT he cannot walk.  A symptom he did not enter the hospital with.

He has had bad knees for awhile, but doesn’t seem to want to get them checked out despite all of our insisting.  Even my mom would try to get him to get them taken care of, but no, he is stubborn especially when it comes to medicine!  While he was in the hospital, I offered to walk with him but he wouldn’t.  Kathi did too.  Now, he’s home and can’t even stand.

Dave stayed here all day with him.  A colleague of mine graciously offered me a walker she had in her home.  So after work, I went and picked that up and have been with him since.  I took over Dave’s shift.  My 98 year old grandma and her aide were here.  Gram kept trying to help him but she uses a walker herself, so although she tried, there wasn’t much she could do for him.

He hasn’t moved off of his chair.  He has been sleeping off and on all day.  I was finally able to reach one of the doctors and when they heard about the severity of his legs, they ordered a new prescription and are seeing him early tomorrow morning.  Dave is going to take him, but I truly don’t know how he will get him there.

Last night, my brothers stayed with my dad.  They weren’t able to do much for him and since he won’t get out of his chair, I made the decision to call for assistance for tonight.  I called a service who is sending a nurse that will stay here and help meet his needs.  There is only so much we can do.  I joked with him that helping with his “bathroom issues” was way beyond my “daughter duties.”  We did finally convince him that he had to have help and just the fact that he agreed, made me realize that perhaps he is realizing that he really wasn’t ready to be home.

His nurse is due to arrive around ten.  I was told that he is a very large man who will be able to move dad around and get him around much better than any of us can.  I will stay until he gets here and fill him in on anything he needs to know.  He will be here until the morning when Linda, the woman who helps take care of the house comes.

I am hoping that after his doctor’s appointment we will have more answers and will be able to move forward with a plan on how to help him best.  Maybe next time we are arguing about what is best for him, he might actually listen to me…. 🙂

Maya Angelou

Upon hearing that Maya Angelou passed away today, I could not help but recall one of my favorite quotes of hers.

maya angelou 2

What I didn’t realize, was, that it was only a part of a much longer quote and now, I love it even more.

may angelou I've learned

I think it is a good one to keep in the back of my mind.  This has been a long, tiring week dealing with my dad – who is still in the hospital.  My siblings and I don’t all see eye to eye on his health care and it is causing a lot of friction!!  I had a frustrating day and had to miss an awards ceremony at DJ’s high school tonight.  He wound up getting three awards for his work on the television production work he has been working on all year.  I am so proud of him!  I was so sad to miss seeing it in person, but knew that I needed to be at the hospital with my dad, speaking to his doctors and nurses to find out the next steps in his health care.  We all have to make decisions and in the end, we have to believe in our hearts that we have made the right one.

Rest in peace Maya Angelou.  You were an inspiration to so many people.  Thank you for your words.  They have touched so many people.

Still There


Not enough time for a long blog today.After a busy day at school, I am meeting up with Dale and Kathi to go see Grease at The Papermill Playhouse.  We are using my dad’s tickets.  Unfortunately, my dad is still in the hospital and not coming home like he thought.  He was in great spirits yesterday thinking that at some point today he’d be back in his house.  Dave and Dale were “on call” for his pick up today, just waiting for the call saying he could leave.  When I spoke to him early this morning I wasn’t so sure because he had run another fever during the night.  He still seemed optimistic, but after seeing several doctors during the day, including the infectious disease specialist, they decided another day was needed.

Needless to say, he is NOT happy about it.  That alone tells me that he’s feeling better though. It took until the seventh day for him to complain and start arguing about staying any longer.  I haven’t spoken to any of his doctors.  I can never get there and time it to meet up with one.  Today, he was taken for an echocardiogram.  I am still unclear why, but since he had a quadruple bypass years ago, I assume they were checking to make sure no damage was done to his heart after the blood infection and high fevers.

I am hoping that those results come back soon.  So is dad!  He just wants to get out of there.  I know he doesn’t want to hear it, but I am happy that they are checking everything out, even if it means staying a bit longer.  At least this way, we will know he’s all clear to go home and won’t have to worry about him relapsing at home.  Better to get all better now than have to go back to the hospital!!

Once again, thanks for all the good wishes.  He can’t wait to get home to thank you all personally~

Memorial Day

memorial day

Last year, The Memorial Day Parade and Duck Races were just not the same for any of us.  We were all still mourning my mom and despite how many people shared their love for her with us, it was a bittersweet day.

My dad loves driving the duck in his convertible during the Memorial Day Parade.  It was his “job” for years!  This year, with him in the hospital, he passed the job along to DJ.   When my boys were little, I marched with them along with the duck and helped toss candy to the crowds of people along the parade route.  As they got older, I marched with my school.  Last year and this year, I was needed to help out with tickets and prizes for the race so I skipped the parade and went to the brook instead and helped with all of the set up.

I know that my dad was quite upset not being there at the races today.  He was looking forward to seeing mom’s bench there.  If he had been there, he would have seen it used by so many families who were sitting and enjoying the races.  It was such a sweet sight.  I know how happy my mom would have been knowing how much fun people were having sitting along side the brook on this beautiful day on a bench that honored her.  It was really a beautiful thing to see.

Although, we all know the true meaning behind Memorial Day and we realize that the parade is in honor of all of those who have lost their lives serving our country, it has turned into a huge community event. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, several of the elementary schools, civic organizations all march along with veterans and their families.   Many years ago, when the duck races first began in our town, there was some disagreement with holding them on Memorial Day.  Many thought it was too somber of a day to do it.  It was argued that getting the community together for this huge event, actually brought out more people to the ceremonies.  I don’t remember how it happened, but somehow it has all turned out okay and now, at the conclusion of the Memorial Day ceremony at town hall, the crowds descend upon the brook in town and the duck races begin.  It does seem odd to have barbecues and parties or to go away for the long weekend when the original idea behind the day was to commemorate such a somber event.  Perhaps for those of us who have not experienced the loss of a veteran, we should take a moment to remember all of those who have died serving our country and use the time to appreciate our families, friends and how we have gotten to where we are in our lives.



My dad is on his way to recovery.  He was sitting in a chair out of his hospital bed this morning when I went to visit.  He had eaten his breakfast and brushed his teeth.  Definitely on the upswing.  The doctors want him up and walking around now.  He wasn’t ready to do it while I was there so I made him promise he’d do it when my sister arrived. Waiting to hear from her if he followed through!

He was gazing out the window talking about what a beautiful day it looked like outside and he was right!  Memorial Day weekend started off a bit rainy, but today, the weather was perfect.  Tomorrow is expected to be the same which is great for the Memorial Day Parade and Duck Races in town.

When we knew how nice the weather was supposed to be, DJ had asked us if he could take Drew to a Somerset Patriot Game today.   They are a minor league baseball team about 45 minutes from our house.  Dave and I debated about letting him take him without us.  It would be his first drive on the highway since getting his license without one of us being in the car with him.  There were two options for him to get there.  One required driving on two highways, and the other was to take Route 22.  If you aren’t from this area, you would not understand the apprehension we have with Route 22.  The best word to describe it would be chaotic.  There are cars merging on and off of it from the left and right.  Jug handles and u-turns every few miles.  There are center islands with many stores, and cars pulling out from all directions.  Traffic lights every few minutes.  Total mayhem!  I have been driving for over 25 years and I still don’t like driving on it!  You have to be aggressive enough, but not overly aggressive at the same time.

Last night, we discussed it and I told him we had to make a decision, either Route 22 where he could drive 45 mph or the two highways with higher  speeds, more traffic and no lights to slow him down.  So after some debate and asking DJ what he thought, the choice was Route 22.  I went to bed a little nervous but feeling like we made the right choice.  He’s going to have to do it sooner or later and I can’t let my nervousness stop him.

This morning, they got up and were getting ready to leave when a text came in from my brother offering him two tickets to The Met’s Game.  So, the decision making began again.  Letting him take Drew to Citi Field by train(s) or sticking to the original plan and going to the minor league game.  I have let DJ go to plenty of Mets’ Games by train, it was having Drew tag along with no adult supervision that made me nervous.  The only problem with making the decision this time, was that I had to do it on my own since Dave was playing in a soccer game and I couldn’t reach him before they’d have to leave.

I finally decided to let them go see the Mets.  They aren’t little kids.  They are totally capable and I know this. Kids who grow up in the city travel this way all of the time.  They sent me a message when they got there and took a photo for me to see their seats.   I love when they spend time together.  Their five year age span sometimes makes this a challenge.  Drew tries so hard to to get DJ to spend time with him and he loves it when he does.  I know they are having a great time.  I have to give them more opportunities to do things like this.  In just over a year, DJ will be going to college and depending how far away he goes, their time together cold be limited so I need to let them enjoy it while they can!


You Can’t Please Everyone

you can't please everyone

I was hoping to catch my dad’s doctor at the hospital this morning so Kathi and I went early, around 8 o’clock hoping we’d get to talk to him.  Unfortunately the doctor visited at 6:45 and we missed him.  Both of us had rushed to get there assuming we’d be early enough but we weren’t.  Fortunately my dad is much more alert today and a lot of the questions we had for the doctor, dad remembered to ask so that was good.  He seems to be feeling much better.  I guess the antibiotics must be kicking in.  He told us that the doctor told him he should be out of there in a few more days.

He was alert enough to instruct Kathi and me on how we needed to wrap all of the prizes for the duck races on Monday.  We met up with my Aunt Dale at his house.  Fortunately, as prizes were collected he piled them up on his dining room table so after getting everything in order, the three of us made a pretty good team and for the most part, they are all wrapped and ready to go.  My brother Tim is on a quest to get the few remaining prizes that weren’t dropped off.

When we were done, we discussed all getting together for dinner tonight.  17 of us.  It is challenging enough trying to get just the four of us to decide on one place for dinner so getting 17 to agree wasn’t easy.  My carb-free cousin preferred we skip Italian, my grandma didn’t want the Jewish Deli, Tim wanted to go to an all you can eat buffet, I wanted to “keep it on the cheap side.”

Dale suggested burgers and salads.  That’s easy enough, but finding a place that will accommodate us all was not!  We didn’t even care if it was fast food.  Kathi suggested Smashburger.  Tim wanted 5 Guys.   We were texting back and forth for other opinions, which just made it more confusing.  Gram liked the burger idea, but her caretaker had no idea how to get there.  Tim got angry that we weren’t going with his choice and stormed out of the house.  Ugh!  His temper is almost as bad as my dad’s!  I am as stubborn as him which always leads to arguments.  Kathi and Chip don’t chime in at all when we argue – which is just as frustrating!!

Finally, we have settled on Smashburger.  Will we all be able to sit together, probably not.  I am sure Gram will find something to complain about.  She is nearly 99, I guess she’s entitled….

It is one of those times when a suggestion of doing something small turns into an ordeal~ that makes me crazy!  We haven’t seen Gram all week and thought that taking her somewhere would be good for her.  She’s worried about dad and seeing us all in person letting her know he’s doing well will be good for her.  We won’t let her go and visit.  It will be too much for her.  He’s on a floor filled with sick, germy people.  She doesn’t need to be anywhere near that!  He should be home soon enough and she can visit him then.



get well

Since so many friends and family are asking about dad, that I figured I’d post here and let everyone know how he is doing.

He is still at St. Barnabas and is not expected to be released before Monday.  He feels “yucky” in his words but he is more alert and coherent.  He even asked me tonight if he “made it into one of my blogs yet.”

Dave was there during the day today and was there when his doctor came in.  The doctor told them that although it started as a urinary tract infection, it has spread to his blood stream which explains the high fever.  After Dave left, they were going to take him for a bladder scan and an infectious disease specialist was due to come by as well.  When I got there at five, my aunt was there.  His nurse came in and told us that she had just spoken to his doctor and told us that there is “some sort of blockage” possibly “hydronephrosis” but she would not say anymore.  She told us that the doctor would talk to us tomorrow.  Of course the first thing I did was look up “hydronephrosis.”  I found this on, “Hydronephrosis is a condition that typically occurs when one kidney becomes swollen due to the failure of normal drainage of urine from the kidney to the bladder.”   It could happen for numerous reasons, one being an effect from radiation due to prostate cancer – which he was treated for a few years ago.

Until I speak to a doctor, I am not going to confirm this though.  I plan to get up to the hospital early tomorrow in the hopes to speak to his doctor in person.

My dad is very private about health issues.  He didn’t even tell us about his prostate cancer until he was already going through radiation treatments.  He doesn’t go to doctors when he doesn’t feel well and we all are wondering just how long he wasn’t feeling well before finally telling us this time.  While we were in the emergency room with him on Wednesday, he was telling the doctors about being treated for bladder cancer… NONE of us knew about this, but he was also incoherent that night so perhaps he was just confused.  It was one of those times we needed our mom.  She would have known all of this.  No matter how private he was with us, she knew everything.  As I sat with him that night and the staff was taking his information, I couldn’t even answer all of their questions.  He asked about him having a living will – I didn’t know.  They asked about his insurance – I wasn’t sure.  So many questions that I couldn’t answer.  They asked me if “Eleanor” was still his emergency contact and I had to tell her that she passed away last year, so now, his emergency contact is me.

So there is not too much to report yet.   The antibiotics are helping with the infection and he is much less confused and he knows that I am his daughter…and not Chip 🙂  He is in a room, near a window and tonight we watched a huge thunderstorm blow in.  Hail stones pelted the window as we watched the lightning strikes all around the area.  He is disappointed that he won’t be able to be at the duck races this year, but we are going to try to get in under control.  Kathi, Dale and I will get prizes organized tomorrow.  The rest of The Kiwanis Club knows the routine for the day of the races so it should run smoothly.

He is in the best place right now, getting the care he needs.  Thanks for all the good wishes.  He appreciates them and so do we.

An Inspiration


About a month ago, my cousin Jody sent me a message asking me if I’d be available to do a charitable photography event.  It was a fundraiser for The Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve Foundation and Team LeGrand. I jumped at the opportunity!

A friend of Jody’s, Michael Elchoness, was turning forty and instead of having a big party for himself, he decided to raise funds for the foundation.  The party was on Tuesday night.  He invited about 100 guests to celebrate at Martini’s Bistro and Bar  in Millburn, New Jersey.  His friend, Eric LeGrand was there and he was honored by the town of Millburn that night with a proclamation by the mayor.

All of Michael’s guests paid a fee to attend the party, there was an auction with sports memorabilia from The NY Giants, Mets and Yankees tickets and an exclusive martini tasting presented by Grey Goose, Tito’s, and Skyy Vodka.  The proceeds from the evening went to support the foundation and towards helping to find a cure to end paralysis.  The food and drinks served by Martini’s was delicious and flowed all night long.

Eric spoke so eloquently that evening. He said that Christopher Reeve used to say that one day all wheel chairs will be empty.  He said that Christopher Reeve started something and he intends to finish it.

It was an honor to be there photographing the event.  I spoke to Eric and to his lovely mom Karen.  They were charming and their huge personalities filled the room with laughter.  Guests served him drinks and food all night long.  There was great music provided by DJ Yoshi, the official DJ of Rutgers.  12 years old, Jack Simon, was treating guests to some amazing magic tricks.  Even Eric was impressed!!  At the end of the evening, Jack had been given tips from many of the guests.  He donated that money to the foundation.  A big move for a kid his age!

Eric is becoming the “new face” of The Christopher Reeve Foundation.  A face that younger generations will recognize.  His BELieve foundation is helping to spread the word about spinal cord injuries.  His positive spirit is an inspiration to all.