Life - End to End

This story ends with the happiest event in life. But starts out at the opposite end of the spectrum - with one of life's great tragedies.

Pregnancy has been wrapping itself around me lately. Two expectant daughters-in-law, my daughter also trying to get pregnant and a few friends on facebook also pregnant. And it seems that they are all very open about their experiences and feelings. So much so that it's becoming overwhelming, to say the least.

The first one due to pop was Kevin's wife, Shirley. Over the course of the last year we've become quite close and, given her current condition, her having 2 little boys and no car, and my availability and willingness to be there to taxi or give other help, I hear from her regularly and sometimes at odd times. So when I got a call from her Tuesday morning I wasn't surprised, the baby was due any time. Then when I answered the phone and she was sobbing it still wasn't totally amazing. But the reason for her tears was the shocking part - her uncle, her mother's last living sibling, died during the night, at 52 years old.

Brett had had a hard life and was on the road to better things. He and his wife were living with Mindy and apparently he simply accidentally took one too many pain killers. It happens. He went peacefully in his sleep. He's in pain no more but, once again, the family is reeling from the shock of yet another death.

I eventually ended up giving Shirley a ride down to her mom's to be with the family, then brought the boys home with me, out of the chaos. When the day was wrapping up Shirley insisted that Mindy go home with her and hand occupation of her house over to the family. Here's a high five to Shirley for being cognizant and insistent! Next thing on the list of ways to help her mom? How about a distraction? I know, let's have a baby!

Shirley has had success in prompting her babies to come at her chosen time. This time it wasn't working as well. But she hadn't tried for about a week so she gave it one more shot - and it worked! I got a text from her just when I was about to take my pills to help me sleep that informed me that they were heading to the hospital! Woo hoo! So I put off taking those pills so I could dash to the hospital if that little girl decided to make her entrance quickly. Soon after midnight I got the news that things weren't progressing as rapidly as hoped so I took those pills and went to bed.

Quarter to eight I got a text from Kevin that the doctor was gonna get aggressive and make the labor move along. So I decided to get up and get ready to head to the hospital. As is the way in the hospital, things dragged on and the actions to speed up the labor didn't happen for hours. I just hung around in the room with them, I had my laptop and was editing my old photos. And felt completely out of place. But they assured me it was OK to be there.

They finally got around to taking the needed measures and the labor still seemed to creep. I was still sitting in the room with them. Eventually she was about half way there and they gave her an epidural to ease the pain. Nearly 3 hours later she was almost there, ready to go. I left for the waiting room and about 10 minutes later I got a text from Kevin: "Done". WHAT!?!? 10 minutes!?!? Cool! Maybe it was only 5 minutes - it was FAST!

I got back to the room and they were still cleaning things up so I waited outside in the hall listening. I could hear the newborn cry that sounds so much like an animal. I could hear Kevin and Shirley talking softly. Then I heard Shirley ask "It's a girl, right?" Too funny! But understandable, they wanted their girl so they could consider their family complete and newborns are so puffy that sometimes it's hard to tell! Yes, it's a girl!

At last I was allowed in the room. The baby was in the heater peeing on everything when I got in. I got to watch them weigh (7lbs 4oz) and measure (18.25") her and dress her and finally Mom and Dad got to hold their new little girl!

The rest of the afternoon was a blur of family and chaos. For a while, during a lull, the whole little family was sleeping. Kevin was snoozing with his baby girl sleeping in his arms. Eventually Joe and Shayne came to visit via their Auntie Rachyl. They brought gifts and Joe was anxious to meet Elise. Shayne, on the other hand, was not. It's gonna take him a little while for it to sink in, I think. When Denny and Heather came Hunter was right there, VERY interested in the newest tiny Sizemore cousin. So the events that I'd stuck around to photograph ended up happening in front of about 3 or 4 cameras! A very well-documented first bath, etc!

Finally around 6PM I was ready to go home. It was a hectic, emotional 2 days. Not to be forgotten for a long while, especially for Mindy and Shirley.

A Glimpse into the Past...

My Uncle Eugene was the last family member to live in my Granny's old house in California. They bought the house in 1965 and moved from LA to Lakewood a year after we did. This became, for about 3 years, my and my sister's home away from home. I remember walking there at lunchtime to make my grilled cheese sandwiches, then walking back to school - elementary school! And we spent every school day there after school as well as my mom worked in a dental lab.

Well, Granny died in 1994 which left Grampa and Uncle Eugene. Grampa lived til his 92nd birthday in July 2000. So then it was down to Uncle Eugene.

Uncle Eugene never married nor had any kids and was always taking in strays - people strays, that is.

I'm not sure what the living arrangement was for the 8 years until his death in June of 2008. When he died I believe there was him, his girlfriend and a couple other people that needed a place to stay living in the house. He did a good job of taking care of everything until he got too sick in January of that year and the place began to fall into disrepair and neglect.

So in November of 2008 we, Mom, Dad, my sister, her husband, Mom's cousin, Rick and I had the job of cleaning out the place. That was QUITE a job and I blogged it pretty thoroughly, look back at these links to see that story...

When I returned home I brought back my uncle's HUGE van and filled it with treasures from the old homestead.  Furniture, artwork, knick knacks, etc.  All old memories of my childhood.  I also brought a shoebox full of pictures and negatives, mostly negatives.

A few weekends ago Sarah was here with some old photos from her mom's side of the family and Rick was scanning them for her.  My appetite was whet.  I looked at the shoebox of old negatives and decided it was time to start scanning.

Well, I think it was last week some time that I finally finished and it came up in conversation so I had to get a rough count - 1200+!  I knew it had to be over a thousand.  Wow!  But what gems I found in that shoebox!

I was used to seeing my mom's pictures of certain places and events but a lot of these pictures I'd never laid eyes on, they were my Grandma's, not my Mom's!  Things I'd only stored in my mind were now presented before my eyes, some of them were things I hadn't remembered at all and some I only had fuzzy memories of.  Such as a visit to Canada to see my Grandma's sister's tobacco farm when I was about 5.  I remember visiting a cemetery, in my mind it was right across the street from the tobacco farm.  I don't know if it was but what I didn't remember is that we visited my great-grandfather's grave!  And there are pictures of Kathy and me standing by it.  I also found pictures of a flood in LA in 1954, the car that my parents drove to Albuquerque, my mom's graduation, my other grandma holding me by a Christmas tree, a birthday party for possibly a cousin when I was just a toddler, and so many others I can't recall.

Most of the negatives were in pretty good shape but some, the older ones, meaning the ones I was the most interested in, from my mother's childhood, had begun to degrade.  I was trying to discern what seemed to make the most difference.  In one package I found some that were very degraded right next to others that were still well preserved.  It seems that those exposed to air had degraded.  Those that were tightly sandwiched together so as to not allow air between them were still fairly well preserved.  The two pictures to the left of this paragraph are an example of this, they were from the same event and were in the same envelope of negatives!

So now I have them all scanned and have begun the touch-up process, some of it is actually done at the time it's scanned.  I have a long way to go.  But it's all worth it.

Dental Malpractice!

I think more people think of medical when they think of "malpractice" but I think we just witnessed some gross dental malpractice that - to me anyway - seems like it could have cost a life!

Let's go back a couple months. Shirley took the boys in for their regular dental checkup, cleaning, etc for a 4 and 5 year old. They found a soft spot on one of Shayne's teeth, or maybe 2, that they determined should be drilled and filled even though they weren't even officially "cavities" yet. Apparently they don't know how to treat children's teeth and they did a bad job. How bad we had no idea until last weekend...

Shayne began complaining and was becoming sick, I'm not sure of the first symptoms. I know they started on Sunday. Kevin and Shirley took him to the local urgent care and they told them to take him to the dentist. Monday at 6:45 AM I got a photo message on my phone of one of my grandsons with a swollen face. I didn't have my glasses on so I thought it was Joe. "bee sting?" was my reply. No, it was tooth problems. Shirley was sitting in the dental office parking lot when they opened to get him in to be seen.

They checked Shayne out and said they couldn't do anything because of the swelling. They gave Shirley some antibiotics and said to come back when the swelling went down and - if it gets more swollen go to the emergency room to get it drained. That's just the kind of news you want to hear.

They took the feverish, lethargic boy home and were unable to sleep well that night, so they all camped out in the living room to be able to watch Shay more easily. Somewhere in the wee hours of Tuesday morning they see that his eye is now swollen shut, the swelling is moving down and back, half his head is now severely swollen. Shay says his throat feels "thick". Time to go to the ER.

I didn't get the whole lowdown on how the hospital visit went but eventually they got him in and hooked him up to IV antibiotics and made arrangements to get him seen by an oral surgeon. Kevin took him down the street to the oral surgeon when they opened. The place was very posh, a high-end surgeon. He looked at Shay's mouth and told Kevin that he'd do the work for only what the insurance would cover because of the horribly botched job the dentist did. He managed to take only one tooth even though 2 seemed to be affected.

Later that day I swung by the house with some ice cream and a "Get Well Soon" balloon-on-a-stick. They were again all sprawled around the living room. I gave Shay his balloon and put the ice cream in the freezer. Almost immediately he started smacking Joe with the new weapon. When I left it was business as usual, a house with 2 rambunctious little boys.

After the fact, though: Shay's tooth actually kinda rotted and may have had an impact on the adult tooth (or maybe teeth) beneath the surface. And if they hadn't gotten treatment I believe the poor kid was headed toward becoming septic.

I think this is what they call "malpractice", don't you?

About Me

My photo
After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.