Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memories, Unforgettable memories!

This is Rick just a few weeks before we found the tumor. He is sitting in his favorite spot on the couch. I am not sure if he is sleeping or reading. I believe he was sleeping. The other picture is with Tober.

On with the story:

So we have had our ups and downs over the years. I think if most every couple is honest they all have those difficult patches of times. We were no exception. When he would get mad about something, he had to have the last word and he wanted to be alone. Me, I wanted the last word too and I wanted to settle it right then. We clashed a little in this area. But you know, we never stayed mad at each other for a really long time. We always got over it. The decision to stay with GM and move to Massachusetts was one of those conflict areas. I did not want to move that far away. He had moved to many different areas all his life and it was no big deal to him. It surely was to me. That move turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made even though it took us so far away. I learned to be independent and how to live in a completely different area of the country.

When I married Rick, I said the words below I meant them!

Do you Myra Lynn James take Richard Alvin Sanders to be your husband – to live together after God’s ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him as long as you both shall live?

After the Judge said those words to me and I replied I do I never broke that vow. Neither did he. There were times in our life together that I wondered if I'd done the right thing. There were times when we would joke with each other and say how much we wanted to do bodily harm to the mutual friend who introduced us to each other. There were other times when we'd say "If I ever get rid of you, I will never do this again!" Of course, we never really meant those statements. We laughed about them many times.

One thing we both really loved to do was have family dinners and I don't mean the four of us either. I means sisters, brothers, parents, aunts, uncles, neighbors. And there would be fifty to sixty people here for us to feed. The planning and prep took a couple of days, head counts to be sure we had enough food was always just a best guess but nobody ever left our house hungry. That is one thing for sure. Rick loved to fish for "flathead cat fish" and have "a fry". That included fried potatoes, slaw, home made hushpuppies and corn bread as well as my home made white bread, green beans, corn, some other meat because I HATE FISH!!! There were home made desserts too, lemon meringue pies, apple cobbler, strawberry cobbler, chocolate pies, cakes, no bake cookies and this was not pot luck either. Some of his sisters and my sisters in law would bring desserts, but for the most part we did all the cooking. We were up at 4 am for a 2pm fry. But he really enjoyed those so very much.

Another thing we both really loved to do was go to church. Rick loved the Lord with all his heart and you could tell when the Spirit of the Lord was dealing with him whether it was during the singing, preaching or when ever! He would slap the side of his leg three times and that foot would swing back and forth and he had this little sound he made, kind of a little giggle sound mixed with kinda clearing his throat at the same time--can't describe it hereto do it justice. But if you knew him, you knew what I mean. When the kids were going to church with us, Sissy would get tickled at him. I have not backed off from going, but it is still difficult because that is the last place I got to see him. I am sure time will help that. I am learning to deal with it, but it will take time.

Another thing we both loved was our babies! He was a little afraid of PD, but Tober and he bonded when she was about 6 weeks old. She tried to talk to him. And he would say "tell pa all about it" and she would coo and goo at him from very early! Perry Dale, Jr (PD) seemed much more fragile. He was only 2 months old when Rick was diagnosed with the tumor. They never really got to know each other. We will teach each of them about their papaw though!

February 7, 1999 was another day we will never forget! Earlier in January, we had so much rain, kind of like this past early May, but I do believe there was more or it came is less time...anyway we had a water problem in the house because of a sump pump and all the rain. Our house flooded and oh, it was bad. It took me about 2 weeks to clean it all up. That morning was a Sunday. It was warm and windy for February. I had windows up airing out the house. I left for a few minutes to take the kids to my mom's so they could go to church with her and Rick went to his Dad's after breakfast. I know I didn't leave anything on and we have no idea how but on my way back (my mom is 15 minutes from my house) I saw thick black smoke. I didn't know it was my house! When I came down Cline Road, I couldn't see that smoke so I had no clue. I rounded the curve at the mailbox, and looked over towards the house. There were so many flames! It was horrible! But, you know, you hear horror stories how insurance companies can hold you hostage for months....Farm Bureau did not. They gave us money right away for clothes, helped us get a temporary home, and paid for the clean up. They did such a good job that we were ready to re-build by April first and moved back in the first week in August. While that was a horrible time in our lives, we realized how important things, belongings really aren't and how precious life is. Had it been just a couple hours earlier, as fast as that went up, we may have all perished! God truly works in mysterious ways.

That was the same spring that Rick's dad called one morning about 3 am, woke us up and said he was in the worst pain of his life. He wanted Rick to come take him to the ER. He refused to go in an ambulance. Something told me he had an abdominal aneurysm, and he did. He went to emergency surgery. He was in the hospital 21 days on the ventilator most of those. Then he went to a rehab hospital who shall remain nameless. He wanted out of there so bad! He found an opening one day and escaped. He said he got to Wal-mart, they said he only got to an office next door. When he was discharged he was fine. He lived until lung cancer took him away in March 2008.

January of 2000 found me getting my reflux and hiatal hernia fixed. Boy that was a rough surgery! But it was over, I could lie flat and not have reflux! Amazing. I would have to be in terrible shape to ever do that again though. But I was in that shape then. I had reflux standing up. I wasn't sleeping. I had been out of the hospital about 2 weeks, wasn't even supposed to drive yet and Rick said, "my belly hurts" and something like "worst pain in my life" where had I just heard those words a year earlier? Trip to the ER. Sent home with "stomach virus" as a diagnosis. Now, mind you I didn't believe one word of that! He had a small bowel obstruction and it was blatantly obvious to me. Remember, I was a surgical ICU nurse then and I'd seen 100's of those same symptoms. And when he vomited, I knew what it was. I just couldn't convince the ER doctors. Well, after being up all night with him, I had him at the doctor's office when they opened the next morning. We had to see the on call doctor, our doctor was out on Thursdays. OK. He said go to ER. I said been there, done that sent home. He said I think he's obstructed. I said Duh! Tell them that! He called the ER and sent us back. Noon came and went and they'd tried to CAT scan his abdomen several times, and the contrast he drank had not moved out of his stomach. DUH again. He was obstructed! 3 pm came, he is hurting so bad and they still had not scanned him. He went back to the scanner, they said gee, the barium is still in his stomach. I said "do ya think?" They said, we will scan him anyway. I said good do it! they did. Sent him back to his room in ER. 30 minutes later he is in so much pain he about can't take it anymore. I went out and begged for pain medication. They finally gave him a little. The ER doc came in and said "well, there is good news and bad news....the good news is he's not obstructed but we are keeping him anyway" I said to call Dr. Bush. He had been Carlos' doctor. I didn't know any other surgeons here at that time. Dr. Bush came in, he said hey man, you're obstructed! We are going to OR. YAY!!!! By the time he opened him up his small bowel was so obstructed he had so many adhesions he had to "take down" to relieve the obstruction. It was a thousand wonders and the grace of God that he didn't have ischemic bowel (tissue that doesn't get good blood flow and is compromised by the lack of oxygen). I complained to administration. I received a call from someone saying they meant he didn't have a "gastric outlet obstruction" I said whatever, I am not stupid. He hushed and I didn't push the matter, but I could have. Had I not been a nurse, he could have died then. After he got home, he had quite a bit of trouble. He re-obstructed when Dr. Bush was off over the weekend. He was having problems with his oxygen and perfusion. He was really sick. He was re-admitted. It did not require further operations, but it did require a fit out of me for the on call surgeon to see him. By the way, you really DON'T want to see me mad! Most of you have seen me upset, a little steamed but you have not seen MAD. When he did a test I asked him to do and I was right, he had to eat crow. Anyway, he stayed in the hospital this time until he was definitely well. When it was time for me to go back to work I had to teach a then 10 year old Nick how to change his Dad's dressings because his 14 year old sister couldn't do it!

I think that is all for be continued...............

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