Aug 29, 2010

A Tribute to Gaga...

Gaga opening her first stocking at 88 years old!!!

Tammi, Gaga and I boating in the Gulf of Mexico...we will always remember the "sand on the beach" story:)

Daniel and Gaga at Daniel's high school graduation.

Gabriella kissing Gaga "bye-bye".
To say our family has had a lot go on in the last three weeks would put things mildly. Some of the things that have happened have been wonderful blessings and celebrations while other things that have happened we have really had to look hard to find that silver lining in the cloud.
On August 7 Gaga, my grandma, went home to be with the Lord. Her health had been declining and there isn't anyone who would question this; however I have to be honest that as a nurse, who is taught to preserve and respect life, a Christian who believes that God writes all our days before we are even born and He chooses when our last day is, and her granddaughter, I'm having a very hard time accepting how she died.
Gaga was admitted into the care of a particular Christian hospice agency. During the short time she was under their care as an "outpatient" they began giving her drugs like morphine and xanax. The morphine did help her pain and small doses of the xanax would help relieve her anxiety when she became short of breath or was anxious. However, as hospice started taking over more and more, the medication doses became stronger and stronger and her confusion became much more noticeable. Gaga had been moved to a long term care facility as she needed more of a 24 hour care situation. The last time my family and I visited with her she told me "honey I know I seem confused but they are drugging me, I'm telling you they are drugging me". As a nurse I thought maybe she was just having a hard time adjusting to the facility and the move as this had been discussed within the family.
Two days later Gaga fell and broke her hip and was then moved to inpatient hospice. The nurses in the hospice couldn't have been nicer...however as a nurse I could never do what they did. The first night she was there the nurses gave her the oral morphine, any fluids she wanted to eat or drink..along with a haldol injection. Gaga drank a few drinks of water and ate about a half of a cup of applesauce. Haldol is an anti psychotic drug that was invented in the 1950''s also used to help people "stay quiet"... as my grandma didn't have any psychiatric issues I found it odd she was receiving it. By the next day a continuous sub Q (like an IV) pump with moriphine was started where she received a constant dose of moriphine and it could also be pressed every 15 minutes so she could receive additional doses for "pain control". I am a HUGE advocate for pain control, however for some reason I could never bring myself to press that button and I'm ever so thankful that I did not touch it. I later found out that my grandma also had a scopolamine patch placed on her as this "drys up secretions". I offered mouth care to my grandma on Friday evening and she didn't respond yet on Saturday, when I offered it she was sucking very hard trying to get liquid out of the sponge...yet the hospice nurses apparently suggested "no mouth care be offered"...funny, as a nurse, and as a nursing instructor I teach that is one of the most fundamental things you can do for a person.... and yes even a dying person.
My grandma went to be with the Lord on Saturday evening around 10:50 pm about 30 minutes after we left the hospice facility. My dad told me that when she passed away it was like she was looking beyond them and her respirations increased for a few minutes...almost like a panting type of breathing. I find peace in thinking that she was beginning to enter heavens gates and was possibly seeing loved ones that may have been there to greet her and was excited to see them.
Sunday morning was a difficult morning for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons it was so hard was because I realized that my grandma did not die by natural was not her congestive heart-failure or her COPD that she died of... when viewed from a medical perspecitive and at a cellular level, she died from dehydration, and as morphine was the only fluid they would allow her to have, and as it is a potent analgesic that can suppress respirations, she truly died from a morphine overdose. I called a colleague that I knew who was the director of a different hospice facility who told me as gently as possibly that yes, this is how she died and had she been a patient of their facility things would have been handled very, very differently. We also have a dear family friend who has been a lead homicide investigator for years and shared with us that 50% of all hospice cases, when investigated, are found to be homicides...just legalized ones.
Normally all of my post on our blog are pretty upbeat and I'm sorry if anyone finds this post offensive in anyway ~ however if you do read this, I can only hope that if you are ever presented with a hospice situation for your family loved one, I hope you will ask a lot of questions. I know it sounds very appealing that many, if not all of the patients medications are "free" once you enter hospice...however hospice is funded by the government, and once a patient is no longer alive it saves the government hundreds and thousands of dollars they don't have to pay in social security benefits, medicare/medicaid etc.
As a Christian I know that God is ultimately in control of everything. I know that God is stronger than morphine, haldol, dehydration and scopolamine patches and even though I'm truly struggling with how my grandmother passed away I'm resting in the comfort that God knows all, sees all and is all. My grandma is rejoicing in heaven with him today. I'm thankful that she has a new and complete body. As we have told Gabriella, Gaga's old body is here in the ground but the happy part of her is having fun up in heaven...and I can promise you that heaven will never be the same with Gaga up's a much happier place:)

Aug 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Aug 20, 2010

Gabriella bakes her first cookies!

Gabriella was very excited to put her apron on..

Ok Mama what do we do now?

A great thing about adopting a toddler is being amazed at what they already know how to do. Gabriella can peel a tangerine in 30 seconds flat and now we know she can crack eggs too ~ she's a natural at this!

Now we "dir it all dogether"...

It's almost ready to shape into balls...

"Mama day are puurfect"!

Baking can tire out even the cutest of cooks however she's not letting go of her cookie even when she sleeps:)

Aug 17, 2010

Graduation...Masters of Science in Nursing!!

I had prayed that Gabriella would be home in time for my graduation and she was!

Lovin my baby girl!!

It's really happening...

Waiting to receive my's been 2.5 years, a couple more minutes will be just fine:)

It's completed...MSN Baby!!!

I couldn't have asked for a more loving and supportive family through the process...

and Anna, a dear friend who prayed for and supported me all the way through! Thank you to everyone who supported me during the last five years of school through the BSN and MSN program. I would like to also thank God for leading me into this wonderful profession and allowing me to serve as a nursing instructor to help guide our future nurses of tomorrow:)

Aug 12, 2010

Thankful Thursday...

Aug 8, 2010

Brothers and Sisters...

Nicholas and Gabriella have a very typical brother and sister relationship...the only difference is they are both used to being the youngest and have enjoyed this role. There are days the brother and sister duo get along beautifully ~ those days are filled with laughter, wrestling, playing and having a great time...then there are the other days where they both want to be the youngest and do everything they can to maintain that position ~ they know exactly what buttons to push to test each others patience. They are beginning to understand that we love them each for who they are and not for who happens to be the youngest. I'm hoping that by Christmas this dynamic duo may over-come this little competition they seem to have and will be able to enjoy each and every day with one another:)

Aug 4, 2010

One Word Wednesday....


Aug 2, 2010

Mama's Little Shopping Buddy

As Curtis and the boys have been in Florida for two basketball tournaments, the last eleven days, Gabriella and I have been spending almost every waking (and sleeping) moment together:) One thing we have figured out is this little girl LOVES to shop!! When she is preparing to leave the house she does a double take in the mirror, smiles at herself, has to check her purse to make sure she has her sunglasses (bright China is what she will say referring to the sun being bright), her lip gloss and a variety of her Dora cards...I wonder if she thinks those are her debit cards..just a thought!

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