If one has read my previous blog, they know that my mom was in the hospital for thirty-five days and then spent another two weeks at a rehab facility. I should have written this first but the trip home was too much of a comedy not to post first.
Briefly my mom had a big surgery to move her stomach out of her chest back into her abdomen. Leave it to her to experience a complication that occurs one percent of the time. But after five days with out of control pain I forced her to go to the ER. She was running a temp and her heart rate was in the 120’s. The ER did a CT and lab work while out in waiting room. Because I have access to her my chart I saw her WBC was 20 so I knew she was not going home. She got tired of waiting and wanted to leave. I said nope, not happening. Once we got to a room and the ER doc came in looking freaked out about CT results I knew my waiting room assessment was spot on. I just had no idea that the on call surgeon assisted with my moms surgery and said she needed to be transferred to SLUH or St Mary’s because only they had the equipment to do what he needed to do surgically. When she had a bed at SLUH and was in their ER in less than three hours I knew it was life or death. I have never known SLUH to have open icu bed for transfers (at least in my endoscopy world).
My mom had surgery that day and would have another within four or five more days. She and I truly believe the only reason she survived (she’s no spring chicken at 78) is because of the outstanding care she received at SLUH. Her surgeon had just arrived three weeks prior as the new chief of cardio thoracic surgery. Later he would tell me he treated this complication often and people were sent to him from all over the state. So she received excellent care surgery wise. However, it was the above and beyond nursing care she received that was instrumental in her recovery.
She spent the first week in ICU and those nurses were so incredibly kind, smart and attentive it made me want to leave endoscopy and work there. No worries I reminded myself why I left critical care in 2000 and how two months of it at the beginning of Covid was enough for me.
She was then moved to a regular floor. There were times when I know those nurses were working short and yet they never used it as an excuse and continued to act like my mom was their only patient. And no it was not because I was there all the time (I wasn’t) or calling them constantly (I didn’t. I still had access to her my chart so I followed her labs daily without bugging the nurses). It’s just how they are.
Now my mom was a bit of a PIA about her pillows. I swear she had every spare pillow on the floor in her bed. Well they decided my mom was like the princess and the pea. Since she nicknames people all the time they started calling her the pea princess. We all got such a kick out of it. When her chest tube came out and her esophageal stents came out I knew her time at SLUH was coming to an end. So I started thinking about a thank you gift. It is well known I can bake but I thought nurses always get food and it just makes us fat. Flowers are pretty but they die. Then the perfect idea came to me and I ran with it.
Every nurse needs a good black ink pen. And because my mom is snarky and funny, I decided on snarky nurse pens. But because not all of her nurses were snarky, I also did some custom ones that said “thank you from the pea princess”. My mom about started crying when I ran the idea by her. She loved it. I found the picture on the internet and Allyson helped me remove the background. I took it up on a weekend after she was discharged because the weekend charge nurse was phenomenal. Both my mother and sister also really liked her as well.
On the ride home from rehab just one week ago my mom thought she was going to need to buy a wheelchair. I went along with her while in my head thinking she was crazy. Yesterday we went to primary to get her blood pressure straightened out. (Rehab messed with her medicine till she was running 90’s over 50’s and so dizzy she couldn’t hardly walk with walker). The only time she used the walker that day was to see him. She’s all over the house without it. He said no more blood pressure medicine for now. A week without it and she was 120/70. He said she’s lost so much weight she may no longer need it. So my favorite saying “will continue to monitor”.
My mom was convinced no one would remember her. The fact that it’s a rarity to have a patient in the hospital for thirty five days alone is enough. But couple it with the fact she could have easily died and the fact she rarely asked for anything and was so freaking funny she will be remembered by some forever. When she left for rehab her nurse called me to tell me and said she (the nurse) cried when my mom left. A couple days ago someone called to set up home PT and said I never took care of you but I heard all about you. She left an impression on many that she will never know this side of heaven.
Mole Moral ~ So often people focus on the negative and complaining. It’s a choice to recognize the good and amazing. Focus on that and let those know how much you appreciate them.
My mom had surgery to move her stomach out of her chest and back into her abdomen on September 9. Her surgeon is the best for this procedure and I knew she was in good hands. He went over risks which seemed small compared to the benefits. She had lost about fifty pounds and was continuing to lose weight. Did fine overnight and then started with what we thought was gas pain from the CO2. Post op day 5 the pain was so out of control she was suicidal so I made her go to ER. I’m going to condense the next 50 days. She ended up with a huge chest infection where her stomach was. It later turned out one of the stitches in her esophagus ripped out causing a hole in her esophagus. So everything she had eaten and drank leaked out making the infection worse. They ended up placing 2 stents to cover the hole for three weeks. She was on IV food and not allowed to eat. She was on a total of five different IV antibiotics to clear the infection. She spent 35 days at SLU hospital where she received excellent care. She loved all the nurses and they loved her. She was then sent to Mercy rehab for 15 days to recuperate. She is doing better but needs to eat and get her strength back. She lost a total of twenty one pounds during this ordeal. It was one thing after another during this time and why I thought discharge would be smooth is beyond me.
My mom called around 10:45 or so for me to come get her. My sisters engine blew in her car so she has been using my moms car. My mom felt my SUV would be too hard for her to get into so I was driving to my sisters work when I got a text from Kayla. Are you at work? I just blew a tire on highway 40. So I call her to make sure she’s not hurt. We have triple A so I tell her they can put her spare on. She informs the last time she blew a tire (on the way back to Springfield) the tire store threw the spare out because it was dangerous to drive on. Now to say my stress has been off the charts for two months is an understatement so I say let me call your dad because I don’t know what to do. So I call Brian and tell him what happened, he says call triple A and tell them to tow to nearest tire store. I said thanks and call Kayla. Now Kayla was on her way to school and can’t leave the car. So originally I was going to wait with Kayla and then go get my mother. I call her back to update her. Then my sister was like I will wait with Kayla, you go get mom. So I call mom back. I don’t think rehab has ever discharged anyone as fast as they did us. Well as we come upon Kayla and my sister I see my husband has arrived so I drive on by. Then turn around to go back towards home. I tell my sister Brian can wait for tow truck because I know he is not going back to work and I need to get my mom home. So Karen leaves. Brian calls me and says are you coming back to get Kayla I have no room in my work van because his partner rides with him. I’m about to lose my mind so I turn around again and head back to them. Now mind you my mothers back seat is jammed packed with her crap so I ask Kayla if she wants to put it in the trunk. She is as stressed as dance competition days and said no I want to get off the side of the highway now. She shoves all of my moms stuff over to the other side and gets in. Then Brian calls and says he needs her triple A card so she gets back out runs it to him and gets back in the car. She is so shaken up she no longer wants to go to school but wants to go back to her place. She puts her address in and we start down 40 East. All of a sudden she realizes her apartment keys are with her car keys and she cannot get into her apartment. So we end up taking her to school and then I take my mom home. In the meantime Brian had to wait over an hour for the tow truck but followed them to Dobbs and arranged for a new tire.
I seriously cannot make this stuff up. It is very comical and before we pulled off I said to mom this is like who’s on first. She looks at me like I’m nuts and says what. I said you know who’s in first, what’s on second, I don’t know is on third. She then starts laughing and says we have a gift of being able to laugh through trying times. I said who did that routine. She says Abbot & Costello. I said oh yeah all I could think of was the Hardy Boys. She informs me they were detectives. Yes I know I read their books.
So Kayla is safely home. I got my mom all set up in her house. She looked at Facebook briefly and then fired up the switch to check in with her villagers on Animal Crossings. She was suppose to take a nap when I left but instead started checking email. She needs to eat eat eat to get her strength back and put on a little weight. She got around very well with her wheeled walker and in the words of Dr. Heavey “I think she’ll do just fine”.
Mole Moral ~ Everyday is an adventure. It’s a choice of how you tackle it. The moles choose turning it into a comedy!!
As you read todays blog, please keep in mind the year was 1979-1980 and I had seen the movie The Jerk with Steve Martin. As usual my sister was getting on my nerves so I had the brilliant idea to tell her she was adopted from a black family. In true form she gets all upset and then breaks the rules of no calling my mom at work unless it’s an emergency. I’m sure my mom was fairly annoyed with this phone call so Karen got in trouble for being gullible and I got in trouble for getting her all upset. This has been an underlying theme throughout our lives. When I started going to my sisters chiropractor I told his assistant to say to my sister I heard you are adopted. My sister about killed me but the entire office died laughing.
My mom has now been in the hospital for over a week from complications from her hiatal hernia surgery. She was told there is a 99% chance she will have surgery in the morning because the infection is getting worse on antibiotics so surgeon needs to go in and clean it out. My sister went up to visit her today. My mom said to her I really need to tell you something in case I die during this surgery. You really were adopted from a black family.
Mole Moral ~ Hard scary times are made easier by keeping a sense of humor and finding the funny in things.
Its hard to believe it had been three years since I attended my first camp Kesem with Washington University. I had taken the summer off between jobs to spend with my three girls, Emily had a travel assignment in Missouri, Kayla was close in Springfield and Allyson would be leaving in the fall for college. I had started looking for jobs to try and figure out what I wanted to do next with my career when I came across a listing on Indeed for a volunteer camp nurse to spend one week with kids whose parents who had/have cancer. I thought wow that might be fun and with my school nurse experience and Big Stuf camp experience I might just get the position. So I applied and it wasn’t too long before I was called for an interview. At the time I had no idea I was speaking to two college kids with the camp names of Beaker and Pele, I really thought I was talking to some office people on an official interview. Anyway they told me I had the position on the spot pending background check so I was pretty excited. I had a blast that year! We had around thirty-five campers if I remember correctly. The other nurse could only attend the first half and her name was Chaco. She showed me the ropes and I really liked her. I think she was from Alabama. The second half of the week Seven showed up. He picked his name because he fell like seven times while hiking a trail. I knew we were meant to be friends. I had an amazing week and could not wait until next year. I even got asked to do a second camp in Maine two weeks later. It was also amazing and you can read about it here.
I knew three years ago that if my new job wouldn’t let me off to attend Wash U then I would quit and find a new job. Well I didn’t have to be quite so dramatic since covid hit and shut down the entire world. Camp Kesem would be virtual in both 2020 and 2021 and obviously there wasn’t a need for a nurse. Last week I was stalking their instagram account and I discovered that Gibby and Fin were the directors last year. This just made me hate covid even more than I already did. In person camp would have totally rocked with those two in charge. All the girls had crushes on Fin and everyone loved to say Gib by Gib by over and over. So this year was all new college kids because all the old counselors had graduated. Beaker is in med school and Pele had a full time job after camp in 2019. I text these kids from time to time to check in on them and see what they are up to. Back to the present, all the counselors this session were just as wonderful. It just blows me away that they become involved in this organization while in college. They raise money all year long to pay for camp as it is free for the kids. Then they give a week of their summer up to spend non stop time with the kids. I do know that usually when you give of your time and talents you tend to get just as much if not more than what you give.
The nurse this year was Birdie. I liked her the minute i met her on zoom a few days before. For starters she was currently doing Mizzou’s camp Kesem which meant Wash U would have the camp site to themselves. Birdie just finished nursing school and passed boards. She went through an accelerated one year program which means she’s super smart and can handle stress like a champ. Of course she kept denying being smart but this old nurse knows better. She lives in Florida and after Wash U she left for Maine to do the camp I did three years ago. I was unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts at my job but I am thrilled she is there this week. Anyway we had a great week together. We both agreed messy games were the best as you can see by our before and after pictures.
I still cannot believe she has an orange Kesem shirt from Mizzou and hated it, so used it for messy games. I told her if she ever receives an orange shirt again, save it for me. Everyone knows orange is the best color and my camper Froggy agreed with me!
Three years ago, Violet was my partner in the pool. Everyone paired up and she chose me. I was hoping she would be back this year and she was! She even remembered this and going down the slide a million times. I did not swim the first day as it was a little cloudy and cold but the second time it was game on. This campsite by far has the best pool set up I have ever seen.
The slide is amazing and so much fun. There is also a whirlpool that is pretty strong and will whip you into the wall if you aren’t careful. There is a hot tub area but the water is normal but the jets are super strong. It’s nice to sit and relax. I took this picture when no one was around because I will not post pictures of other people’s children in my blog.
I was given access to all the photos the college counselor/photographer took for the week. I’m pretty sure there are over one thousand photos on the google drive. I found two of these that were unposed and I really feel they capture exactly how I feel about camp. I had to do some cropping but you will notice that I blacked out the campers name tag for privacy. We all wore them all week long and by the end of the week, I pretty much had all the names down. This in itself is a small miracle as I am terrible with names.
It was a great week, we had seventeen campers I believe. Very little medicine so I was out playing and crafting and tie dying and just being crazy for the week. I cannot convince any of my nurse friends to take a week vacation and do this. They just have no idea what they are missing and I cannot properly put into words what this means to me. I can only say, if I cannot be off for camp next year, I truly will leave my job and do something else. Luckily, the director thinks its awesome that I do this so it shouldn’t be an issue. However, it’s alway fun to be dramatic.
Mole Moral ~ Acting like a kid and being a little crazy is good for one’s soul.
Session five is always the night where the speaker leads kids to Jesus and at the end if they believe (for the first time) Jesus is who he says he is and that he died for us they stand up. Then after the session ends the group leaders chat with the kids who stood up.
This was a weekly thing in the Baptist church I attended from the age of six to twelve. Every Sunday at the end of church we would sing Just as I am with heads bowed while the preacher would say things such as if Jesus is calling you to come down to the front and you ignore him and die this week you will go to hell. As an adult I can see where they fully believed this and were passionate but as a kid this was as frightening as the thought of Hell. I am not even sure what age I was when I finally got the nerve to go down front and then was taken into a private room where a nice lady had her Bible out and we read some scripture and then prayed for Jesus to come into my heart. A lot of Christians can tell you the actual date they were saved, this hot mess here can’t even tell you the age she was much less a date.
Of course we sing before the talk started and I don’t even know the name of the song we were singing. It was new to me so cut me some slack. Anyway as we were singing it was like the room changed and all of a sudden I realized my father and his parents are singing straight up with Jesus and I could feel that presence which immediately made me start crying. And then all the kids who passed away in the burn unit came flying into my head. It was rare to lose a kid but we did and they all came back and most I hadn’t thought about in twenty years. But they are all up there too with my dad and Jesus. How awesome that day will be when I’m reunited with my Heavenly Father and all the special people who have gone before me.
Mole Moral ~ Earth is temporary while Heaven is forever!
We changed speakers this morning. We now have Justin Warner and I really enjoyed him. Plus he’s easy on the eyes. He did not give a title for the talk (like the other guy did which I ripped off) so I came up with this on my own.
He focused on the world which is fast talking and self serving. He spoke about Instagram, tic toc and internet browsers that spend millions to research each individuals clicks to see what they like and use the algorithm’s to provide everything you want at your fingertips. I swear the phones listen in. Emily got a fancy cat litter box (I’m blocking the name) from my sister and I’ve had non stop ads show up for it. I don’t even own a cat. My toddler on crack jammed into a bull terrier suit is about all I can handle. Anyway it’s not the first time something has been mentioned and then ad after ad on Facebook appears.
Anyway these apps and browsers spend every minute you are interacting with them to what they feel will make you happy. As we all know stuff and likes only bring temporary happiness. I have never down loaded tic toc because it scares me. I read an article from a lady who got sucked into the Qanon movement by watching a couple and then that was all she was getting in her feed. If someone sends me a funny tic toc, I will watch it but the app would lead to even more wasted time for me. I know myself too well.
So he then started talking about babysitting and how a baby sitter is a hired hand and your parents are your owners. The hired hand lets you get by with all sorts of stuff because they are just looking for a paycheck and they do not have your best interest at heart. The hired hand will abandon you in rough times every single time. They have no investment except what they can make off of you. Sound a little like social media? They are only interested in profit. Your parents and Jesus are your owners and they want what is best for you even if temporarily it seems like they don’t. I would die for my children but I certainly wouldn’t die for anyone else’s. I guess that’s just life.
John 10:14-15 I am the good Shepard; I know my sheep-just as the father knows me and I know the father-and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Mole Moral ~ Do you love what Jesus does for you or do you love who he is?
Jesus said “I am the light of the world!” While sin will lead down a path of darkness , following Jesus will lead you into the light.
Sin disguises itself as a pet when in reality it is a predator. Noah talked about a guy in South Africa that adopted a hippo as a pet. True story as I just looked it up. He was busy telling everyone it was like a son to him and as safe as a dog. Until the day the hippo chewed him up and killed him. Hippos kill more humans than lions. Just like sin, neither are your friends.
Confession to God and a trusted friend can help you fight your way out of bad choices. My favorite saying “everyone doesn’t need to know everything about you but someone should”. I have a friend like that and if she only hadn’t moved away. We had some good times on her front porch when I was freaking out!
So I promised The Who said I love you first story. Herc leaned over and asked so I told him. Anyway Brian was dropping me off at nursing school after Thanksgiving break. I had been trying to get the nerve up to say it for a couple weeks. So I’m pretty sure I blurted it out mid conversation. Yes he said it back, I ran up to my floor and told my two besties it finally happened. At least he didn’t throw up after I said it, like Noah’s now wife did. She had eaten bad fish the night before.
I am writing about this mornings session in quite a bit of pain. I do not know what is going on with my right rib cage but the pain upon breathing has really ramped up since this morning. If I had a rash I’d diagnose myself with shingles since it seems to be along a nerve route. But it’s probably the American Mole Virus again. Ha.
So this morning Noah talked about fishing and what are you looking for in life. Is it social media affirmation, is it money, is it a good job, a place to belong, joy or a ring by spring. All of this stuff brings about temporary happiness. Just look at the famous people who have all of this but are still a mess and make insane decisions.
If you lean on Jesus and follow his ways you will have fulfillment that lasts. However this is easier said than done. Just like the best fisherman know where to fish because good fishing is choosing the right spot.
He told a story about a friend in high school that was in a very bad accident who should have died and if lived basically been a vegetable for life. But he proved everyone wrong and turned into a miracle and walked out of the hospital. He wasn’t the nicest person prior but after he made up his mind that he was so close to dying that now he would live. He changed his entire outlook became nice to others and would seek out those sitting alone. Noah invited him to youth group and he came and ended up with 400 plus kids attending from 100. It seems a life altering event always goes one of two ways. You change like the friend or you worry you are going to die for the rest of your life which must be a horrible way to live.
Mole Moral ~ Remember God loves you just as you are today. No need to straighten up before you meet him. I mean he deals with me on a daily basis so the rest of you are a piece of cake!
Big Stuf kicked off last night. The speaker was new to camp and his name is Noah Herrin. It seems his job is speaking around the country and not tied to Atlanta like a lot of the speakers have been.
The theme of camp this year is HELLO. Jesus says hello in the form of I am and fill in the blank. They told us to fill in blank and my answer I am sick. Some people yelled out excited and things like that.
The recurring theme of the talk was you can either know of Jesus or know Jesus. Knowing of him gives you knowledge and can change some things while actually knowing him changes everything. He then told us the story of Andrew meeting Jesus. Jesus came walking by and Andrew just started walking with him. I would have started running if some dude was following me. But since Jesus is bold he straight up asked Andrew what he was doing. Shortly after Andrew asked where he was staying. If some rando asked me where I was staying I might call 911. But again Jesus is not me (that’s a very good thing) and invited him to come and see. And then Andrew joined him and after one day ran home and got his brother. I always wondered why Simon’s name was changed to Peter. Simon means shaky and unstable while Peter means rock and steady. I thought that was pretty cool. I wonder what Jesus would change my name to?
Noah likened following Jesus to cliff jumping. His friends invited him and he wasn’t so sure but he did jump and found out he enjoyed it. He said now if he would have stood on the cliff and watched or hung out at the bottom and watched, it would not be the same experience. He hopes everyone meets Jesus this week. That sentence right there flashed me back to my first camp of 2008. I would say yes I met Jesus right then and there and for the first time in 41 years I could finally feel love. Before this I knew people loved me but I never felt it. This is another example of you know, you know. If you don’t be glad because I missed out on a lot up until that point in my life. So just like the speaker I hope every kid here leaves knowing God loves them!
Mole Moral ~ Even so sick I should have stayed home, camp is amazing and worth potentially never getting better!
Today marks the one year anniversary of my fathers death. I have waited a year to tell his story but I feel its important I do it now so that it is in my blog for when I am gone.
My dad was born in 1942 and his parents were 45 and 50 years old when he was born. He had two older brothers Tom and Bob who were 20+ years older than he. Around the age of 18 months his mother took him to the Memorial Day dedication ceremony where they decorated the graves and had food and things. He ended up covered in misquote bites and then contracted polio. She went to her grave thinking the bites caused the polio but that is not how its transmitted. My dad ended up partially paralzyed and went to Shriners Hospital. Someone in the family was a Shriner. My dad never needed an iron lung but his legs never fully recovered. He was in braces and crutches until high school. He was told repeatedly he would never walk without them but he was determined not to enter high school with braces and crutches. Somehow he taught himself to walk by throwing his legs forward with little to no calf or thigh muscles. Most of his muscles had either atrophied or were removed during the many surgeries he had. Every doctor that ever saw him after said it was impossible for him to be walking but yet there he was walking. He had a limp that probably bothered him but I never even really thought about it. His parents told him he would never marry and probably be a secretary for a job. His mom was a worrier and was convinced she would not live long enough to see him graduate high school.
He grew up in Salem and one night he and another guy showed up at my moms house for a date. Well my mom was watching her brother who is 16 years younger than her. She said she couldn’t leave the house but could at nine. She didn’t think they would come back but they did. When she was introduced to my dad she told him “you look like a John”. He was like thanks I look like a toilet. That began their dating and writing letters back and forth until they were eventually married in June of 1962. He took a job with ACIC Aeronautical Chart and Information Center as a clerk. Shortly after my parents married his job was going to be relocated to Ohio so he resigned and then his boss recommended for him to join the negative engraving department. He was in that department for the rest of his career. ACIC then assimilated with the Defense Mapping Agency which we always referred to as DMAC. Maybe the C stood for center as I am too lazy to do in-depth reading on this. I am assuming some restructuring occurred when its name changed once again to National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA). The flood of 1993 destroyed the south Saint Louis facility so a new one was built just one mile from my house. It opened in 1998 and my father worked in that building until he retired. The name changed again in 2003 to National Geospatial Agency which it is still currently is called. My father officially retired after forty years of service but did go back as an independent contractor for a few years. He was the last negative engraver to do it by hand. Everyone else was using a computer. He did his job perfectly and could draw a straight line without a ruler. It was crazy. He saved every piece of paper he ever received from his job and I spent about four hours looking through all of them. I came to the conclusion my dad was an excellent employee, was well liked and received many awards and bonus’s for his work. I also have a resume he submitted when he upgraded his job. Now I know that a lot of my sisters and I work ethic comes from him as well as my mother. He never once mentioned an award or anything.
As for my grandmas thoughts she was wrong about all of it. He was far more than a secretary. After all once we started the Iraq war my father told he knew it was coming based on what he was doing at work. My father also had top security clearance for a long time. He also saved his reapplications for security clearance. These had a wealth of information in them including addresses for my grandparents, his second wife, and his brothers houses in the past. My father also married, not once but three times. She not only lived long enough to see him graduate from high school but also my sister and I, as well as my graduation from nursing school. She obviously worried too much!
I was at work on May 26 and at 10:25 my phone rang and it was some weird name I had never seen so I ignored it. This person left a voice mail which was really weird. It was from a cop calling on behalf of his wife. I thought this is a trick and then I thought what if its not so I shot her a text and she said it was real it was about my father. So I said let me finish this colonoscopy and I will call you in-between cases. So I dropped the patient off and went into our break room. I was not prepared for what I heard that day. She told me that she had went to Target and when she came home my father had shot and killed himself. I went into shock. I walked out of the break room almost straight into Dr. Heavey. I repeated this to him and he put his arm around me and told me he was sorry and he would take me wherever I wanted to go. I said take me to Chris so he did. I eventually called Brian’s parents and asked them to pick me up because I was in no shape to drive. I called Brian and my mother. On the way home I bossed Brian’s parents around and said please stop at the gas station, I need cigarettes and do not judge me. My sister had spoken to the cop and knew he had died but not how. His wife asked me to tell my sister before she arrived. I told my sister who was driving to pull over but she didn’t listen to me. She did eventually pull over. So she arrived at my dads house before they had taken his body away. He had taken the riding lawn mower down to the woods and went where you couldn’t see him to end his life. Just like my dad not to make a mess in the house or in his perfect yard. I was not mad at my dad for this at all because as usual there is more to the story.
When the medical community first started seeing post polio syndrome my father said to me “If I ever need to be in a wheelchair because I cannot walk anymore, I want you to shoot me.” I was in my teenager years and I knew he was serious. He did not want to live if he could not walk and be independent. Covid hit in March of 2020 and the last time I ever saw him was Christmas of 2019. Because of his wife’s health issues they were locked in their house and went no where except to the doctors office. They had everything delivered. During this time his mobility began to really go downhill. It got to the point that he would only go to the mailbox after dark so his neighbors wouldn’t see him fall. He no longer slept under Grandma Carty’s quilt because it was too heavy for him to move his legs. He also experienced skin cancer on his face during the lockdown and was told he couldn’t really be outside anymore. He loved the outdoors and was always messing around in his yard. Then the final blow came when he had a colonoscopy and was diagnosed with a form of ulcerative colitis and was told he would have diarrhea for the rest of his life. The medicine they put him on to control it made his feet swell and he barely could walk. He told my sister it was a death sentence and was gone a week later. I totally understand why he said F this and went to be with Jesus. I mean if he were a dog we would have put him to sleep. I know this may sound really harsh but its the truth.
After he died I knew I wanted a tattoo of his signature. My sister surprised me and got one of a bike. My dad rode a bike all his life. His brothers bought him his first bike when he was little. He use to pop wheelies in front of my Grandma just to make her have a fit that he was going to get hurt. He did the moonlight ramble for many years. He also rode the Katy trail for miles on end. He never ever wore shorts and I only saw his legs once. He was trying to care a tire down the basement steps and fell and broke his leg. He came to Mercy’s emergency room so I came down and stayed with him. He really did not have much leg muscles at all. I totally understood why he wore jeans his entire life even to bike ride for miles on end. So my mom who swore she would disown me if I got one more tattoo said I should have a Corvette with his name because he loved Corvettes all of his life. So finally right before Christmas I found his signature on the reapplication for security clearance and a picture of his corvette and took it to All Star Tattoo. It turned out amazing. I really wanted it on my foot but wouldn’t have been able to wear shoes for two weeks so I said ok forearm works for me.
My parents divorced when I was five. Everyone said my sister and I were ruined because of it. However my parents remained great friends throughout my fathers life and I think we would have been ruined if they stayed married. They were better off as friends than as spouses. My father remarried for the second time just a few years later. His second wife also had two daughters close to my sisters and mine ages. As time went on the wife became increasingly jealous of all three of us and eventually gave my father an ultimatum “me or your kids”. He chose us and divorced her. I am not sure if he ever got totally over her and I still have pictures of her and her kids and her with my father. When i was in high school my mom wanted to take my sister and I to Disney World. She called and told my dad and he said why don’t i come with you. So ten plus years after their divorce we took a family vacation. I will always remember riding Space Mountain with him and conning my mother into riding it. She talks about it to this day as she is not even a roller coaster fan. He also use to take my sister and I to Six Flags every summer. I can remember him riding the Screaming Eagle over and over with us. As an adult I don’t know how he did it. Maybe it wasn’t as rough when it opened back in 1976. He and I rode it the year it opened but my sister was too short to ride. He also use to take us on float trips and I will never forget the very last one. I was in nursing school and it was October. I was trying to pull the boat up on shore and dumped my sister and him in the water. He cannot swim but it wasn’t over his head. However he was stuck wearing wet jeans the rest of the float. I always thought this is why we never went again. I was convinced he was going to kill me but surprisingly he wasn’t mad at all.
When my mom threatened to throw me out of her will, I laughed and said dad is way richer than you and I am in his will. I remember telling my dad that and he cracked up. However the laugh last was on me! I never really cared about his money and was only curious how much he was worth. I will never know and that is ok. My father had an incredible life and I just wanted to share part of his story. He was the last Carty in his family line. His older brother adopted a son who sadly has passed and never had children and his other brother and wife never could have children. So the only Carty’s left are my mom, my sister and I.
Mole Moral ~ Death always reveals peoples true colors!