Saturday, November 5, 2011

RIP fattycatty

I put fattycatty to sleep the other day. It was time. She was 14 years old and she was no longer fattycatty - she was just a bag of loose skin and bones.

She dearly loved Pounce treats but I could not give them to her for the last 6 months of her life because she would just throw them up. I have posted her Pounce commercial in the video above.

I am too sad to see the humor in the situation now but I know I will later. When the veterinarian came in to put her to sleep a couple of her Pounce treats fell out of her carrier. fattycatty did her level best to get to those two treats. In fact she tried to bite the vet - not because she was holding her leg to give her the shot but because she couldn't quite reach the treats that were laying beside her.

In death as in life Pounce treats were all she ever thought about.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Good Deed Alert and Monthly Health Update

A big thanks to the Addington Family. They donated 4 warm blankets and some beautiful women's clothing to the people in Lee Terrace yesterday. The stuff was so nice I was tempted to keep some of it but I didn't. This is not the first time Lisa and her family have donated to the people of Lee Terrace and it is much appreciated.

Fruth donated groceries several times this month but I was too sick to distribute them but at least they tried.

I started feeling better a couple of weeks ago after my relapse in September. It took a good month for me to start feeling like a person again. In the past couple of weeks I have stopped napping every day and am starting to clean house again.

Unfortunately I am going to put fattycatty to sleep tomorrow. I have decided that I have been keeping her alive for me and it is too cruel to keep her alive any longer. She will be sorely missed and I will be devastated.

The Day My Dad Died

Today is the 7 year anniversary of when my dad died. I post this every year so that people will know that no matter how close you watch them at the nursing home things go very wrong sometimes.

At 6:30 in the morning I received a phone call from the nursing home. The voice on the line asked if "Mrs. Brennan was home." I said "yes". Then she says that we think your father is having a heart attack and we don't know if he is a code or not. (meaning do we try to save him or not) I said, "of course he's a full code, it's written right at the top of his chart!"(I had watched the admitting officer write it there myself)

I asked her what hospital they were sending him to because I intended to meet them at the emergency room. She asked someone else and all she said was, "I don't know," then she hung up the phone. I raced out of the house and jumped in my van and flew to the nursing home watching for an ambulance the whole way there. (I lived 5 minutes away) I was praying that I hadn't missed it and when I pulled up to the nursing home there was a paramedic truck sitting there.

I let myself in the front doors and I could hear my dad gasping for air and begging for help with every breath - even though he was at the other end of the nursing home (about 50 yards away). I ran down the hall and he was sitting in his wheelchair and the nurses were gathered around him. They did have oxygen on him but the weren't doing anything else. I asked how he was. They just said he was bad and they were waiting on the ambulance. I said, "But the ambulance is sitting outside." Then a man with a walkie talkie stepped up and said, "That's me mam, I am not the ambulance."

I asked where the ambulance was and that is when they told me that the ambulance was on it's way but there had been a wreck and it couldn't get around it. I asked how long it would be and they told me they didn't know but that the ambulance was trying to get to us. Then I turned my full attention to Daddy. I told him that I was there and I kept talking to him trying to calm him by telling him that help was on the way. At first he didn't realize that it was me, but as I kept talking I could see him responding to me - trying to hang on with every breath. I had saved his life more than once when I was taking care of him and he knew that I would do everything in my power to do it again.

The nurses wanted to put him in bed. He had told me once that when he was in that kind of shape, not to lay him down because he wouldn't be able to fight anymore. He said that, "no matter how bad things get, I have always wanted to live!" I asked him if he wanted to lie down and he shook his head "no" while gasping "help",gasp,"me" ,gasp - over and over. He was responding to me and trying to focus.

I asked the nurses why they weren't doing anything. They said they couldn't do anything but wait on the ambulance. They couldn't give medicines or anything else. I asked the man with the walkie talkie why he wasn't doing anything with that huge bag of medical equipment that he had carried in. He said, and I quote, "Mam, I'm just a first responder. I can't do anything!" So I in my panic asked what the hell he was doing there then. Because he certainly wasn't lifting a finger to help my dad and neither were the nurses. They were just waiting. The nurses were even standing there commenting," Oh God, he's going to die". Which certainly isn't something that somebody in that kind of shape needs to hear.

Daddy had a power wheelchair. I started moving the chair to the front door because I knew that every second counted. By the time we got to the front door probably 15 or 20 minutes had elapsed not counting the time before they called me. I knew he was running out of time. I asked them to let me put him in our van and take him on to the hospital. They refused. I told them that they could drive that they didn't have to let me drive if they were worried about me driving. I told them I didn't even have to go with them if they would just take him to the hospital. Still they refused.

We were at the front door for about 10 minutes when I tried to take matters into my own hands. I started moving his wheelchair to the van. One of the nurses grabbed the chair and held it back. I pushed her off. Then another nurse joined in and I pushed her back too. I knew the only way to save my dad was to get him into the van and get him to the hospital. Something I had done in the exact same situation 2 other times before! Then there were 3 nurses trying to hold him back and I held them all off while he wedged his arm against the button and tried to make it to the van. He knew I was fighting to save him and it was the only chance he had.

We were making progress when the 4th. nurse jumped in. Then there were too many of them. I couldn't fight off 4 nurses. I knew I was going to hurt him if I kept it up. So I stepped back. The 4 nurses were holding on to his wheelchair while he held down the button trying to get to the van. I knew it was over then. I stepped over and turned off the wheelchair. The nurses just looked at me because THAT IS WHEN THEY REALIZED THEY WERE FIGHTING HIM - not just me.

As my dad sat there in his wheelchair at the front door of the nursing home, he died.

The ambulance came, forty-five minutes had elapsed since that phone call. They got out of the ambulance and they didn't go to help him. Instead they started arguing about who was a certified driver and who was going to drive. An old, woman nurse became so irritated that she started trying to put my dad on the gurney by herself. I watched his arm flop limply to the ground. They loaded him into the ambulance. Still not doing CPR or anything. Then I told them I was riding with them. I got in the ambulance and asked them why they weren't trying to shock his heart or anything. They told me it wasn't necessary. After what seemed like forever they did start CPR and manually pumping air into him.

We got to the ER and about 20 nurses and staff met us at the door. My dad's face was black. They escorted me to a small room and told me to wait. There I stood watching a doctor do paperwork and I asked him for directions to the restroom and I washed my face and went back to the little room. There the very same doctor had given me directions told me how hard he had worked to save my dad but that it was no use. It was over. He had never even gone in the room with my dad.

My dad died because a group of people refused to think for themselves and get him to the hospital. They were too worried about following rules and not getting sued. Now I have to live with the thought that possibly my actions contributed to his death. I do know that he died knowing that I tried to save him. I told him many times when I was caring for him that I might make mistakes but I would never intentionally do anything to hurt him - and I didn't.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"I shaved his head when he came home drunk"

At least that is what we told everybody the next day when we went to work...they believed it too!

But here's what really happened. My ex had terrible hair (what little bit he had of it). There was a small ring of it around the sides of his head with a little bit of a scruff on top - not enough to even attempt a combover if he as so desired. As many men did back in the eighties he tried the little ponytail in the back and he even permed what little bit of hair he had a couple of times.

Finally after years of me asking him to do it he shaved his head one day. Believe it or not he actually liked it. He looked much better and he still shaves it to this day (as far as I know anyway). He said he couldn't believe the difference in the way people treated him either. They actually treated him with respect he said. I have found much the same thing to be the case when I have colored my hair from my natural blonde to brown before. People treat me entirely differently.

But the fun part came when we went to work the next day. We told everybody that he came home drunk and to teach him a lesson I shaved his head. We had lots of laughs over that one.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Hijinks

This is my Halloween story that was published in the Charleston Gazette.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- My family and friends have always enjoyed Halloween. From dressing up when we were kids to taking my niece and nephew out trick-or-treating, it's always been a good time.I remember when I was in the second grade, my friend Suzanne and I were having a ball at our school carnival at Justice Grade School. They had a haunted house in the clinic that year, complete with a dead body and bowls of eyeballs and brains and all that delicious scary stuff.

Suzanne and I went in several times, and each time we would get a little braver and more sassy. It wasn't until our last trip into the haunted house that we happened to look over at the werewolf in the corner. It had been standing there every time we'd been through, but we hadn't paid much attention to it. This time, though, that werewolf screamed and came at us with its arms outstretched, trying to grab us! It scared us silly, and we ran screaming out of the clinic.

Years later, when I was about 15, my parents went out after my brother and I had gone to bed. I was lying in bed, just starting to doze off, when my closet door was flung open so hard that it slammed against the wall, then my brother jumped out, screaming.

I let out what had to be the most terrified scream of my life, a deep, guttural scream that came from the depths of my soul. Since my brother was about 6 feet tall, I sincerely thought Frankenstein was coming to get me. He doubled over with laughter. He told me he'd spent nearly an hour quietly crawling into my bedroom so I wouldn't hear him.

He traumatized me for life - since then, I've never slept with my bedroom door open again.

I have generally made it my policy to avoid graveyards, especially at night. But one time, I was out walking along a trail with two friends when we got caught out after dark. We had to pass through a very old cemetery on our way out of the woods.

I was leading the way, and we were walking single file because the trail was narrow. All of a sudden, I heard a crashing noise coming down through the brush on the hill, right at me. I screamed and took off running, absolutely terrified out of my mind.

That's when I heard my friends Oscar and James laughing, and I knew they'd played a joke on me. James had taken a large rock and thrown it up the hill so that it would roll down right at me. His aim was perfect. I couldn't have been more scared if someone had risen from the dead at my feet.

Another year, I agreed to meet my sister-in-law, niece and nephew for a walk along Cato Park's haunted trail. The trail was filled with your standard Halloween monsters and gore, which my obnoxious niece (who was 13 at the time) pretty much ruined with her teenage sarcasm. The absolute biggest scare - and the only surprise - came at the very end of the trail.

At the end was an accident scene, complete with wrecked cars and mangled bodies strewn everywhere. As we were standing there staring at the carnage, all of those dead bodies leapt to their feet at the exact same time, then starting running toward us, chasing after anybody who ran. Even my sarcastic niece was afraid.

When my poor nephew, who was 8, started running, he turned and ran straight into me. He was so afraid that he wasn't even aware what he'd done. I could feel his little arms and knees pumping as he continued trying to run, not realizing he wasn't going anywhere. It was a good thing he hit me because if I had been a tree, he probably would've knocked himself out. He was in a state of pure terror, and I had to pick him up and carry him a little way down the trail.

Although his almost cartoonish fear was a bit funny, I comforted him as best as I could. I knew exactly how he felt, having been well acquainted myself with the feeling of being scared half out of your mind.

My Scariest Ouija Board Experience Ever!!!

When my friend Sherri and I were in the 6th. grade we were doing the Ouija board. No one else was home. I started to ask the board questions about itself. The spirit said her name was Sandra Woodlawn and she was burned at the stake when she was 18 years old. I asked her to give us proof of her presence.

The board spelled out for us to go to the basement, wait 5 minutes, turn out the lights, shut the door then she would give us a sign. Sherri and I went to the basement, shut the door, turned out the lights and got so scared that we ran out after about 30 seconds. We went back to the Ouija board and asked her to make the time shorter. The Ouija board said for us to go to the basement, shut the door, turn out the lights, COUNT TO 10 and then she would give us a sign. We complied even though we were absolutely scared out of our minds. We stood at the foot of the stairs, huddled together, holding each others hands and counted to 10 out loud.

As soon as we said 10 there was a long, slow, screeching scratch down the wall right beside of the door! It went from floor to ceiling (the ceiling was about 15 foot tall in that basement). It sounded like somebody scratching a chalkboard with their fingernails. Needless to say we were terrified. We hesitated at first to run out the door, but it was the only way out. We ran completely out of the house!

I had to figure out what to do because there was no way I was going to be able to sleep in my house that night. We went back to the Ouija board and it made all sorts of awful threats about what it was going to do that night. I asked how to get rid of the spirit in the house. It said to go in the basement and pour the water in a circle around one of the posts in there. Sherri refused to go back down there with me but she did agree to stand watch at the door while I carried out the dreaded task.

I raced down the stairs. I took a pitcher of water and I hurriedly flung it in a circle around the closest pole. I raced back out of the basement and Sherri slammed the door behind me! There was a gap at the bottom of the door about an inch wide. Sherri and I bent down and looked through the crack. There was steam rising in the far corner of the basement.

To this very day when Sherri and I happen to run into each other and we are reminiscing about our childhood. When one of us says "Do you remember...". We both start laughing hysterically and our eyes shine with the knowledge that something absolutely mystical and awful happened to us that day.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I am the #3,157,546,534 person to be born on the earth

When you were born, you were the:3,157,546,534th person alive on Earth

76,917,511,820th person to have lived since history began (click here to see your number)

How I died

I was driving along the rural roads of West Virginia enjoying a beautiful fall day. All of a sudden my tire blew out. The force of the explosion nearly sent me over the side of the mountain but I managed to maintain control and get my car safely to a wide spot beside the road.

I sat there a minute thinking about my predicament. In the past I would have just jumped out and changed the tire but my heart condition was making this minor problem a major ordeal. I knew I had no choice. I had to change the tire, I just needed to make sure that I took my time and took plenty of breaks.

I went around to the passenger side of my truck and reached behind the seat to undo the toggle that held the tire iron and jack in place. Then I went to the back of the truck to find the hole in the bumper so I could start to loosen the spare tire underneath the truck. After only a couple of turns I had to rest. I dropped the tailgate and plopped down on it.

"Jeez, this is going to take forever." I thought to myself. I looked around, wishing that I had just stayed home. "Who cares about fall leaves. I can see them just as easy out the window," I chastised myself. Things were not looking good. After a few minutes I got up and started to turn the tire iron again. Again I was too tired to go on after only a few turns. As I leaned against the bed of the truck I saw a man rounding the curve.

"I hope this is a good, ole boy I thought to myself." I straightened myself up so that I at least looked like a human being instead of the ragged mess that I felt like. As he got close to the truck he saw my tire and he smiled at me.

"Could ya use some help," he asked?

"Yes, I sure could." I smiled back at him. "I am so glad you came along when you did."

"Yeah, you could've been here all day waitin' on somebody to come by," he said.

"Oh no I wouldn't," I said. "I was going to change it myself. I just have to take my time, that's all."

"No need for that," he said, "I'll have it changed in a jiffy." He proceeded to change the tire while we talked about the weather, the leaves and such. In a few minutes he was finished. He threw the tire the back and said, "Well, I'll see you later. Have a nice day."

"Wait," I said. "Can I give you a ride? It's the least I can do after you changed my tire for me."

"That's alright." He said. "I just live around the next curve."

"Well jump in," I said. "I'd feel much better if you let me drop you off."

He got in the truck and we started down the road. Around the next curve was a road that turned to the left. "Just let me out here," he told me, "I live at the end of that road." Of course I didn't listen. I immediately turned down the dirt road that was so rutted that I had to ease my way along. It was nothing out of the ordinary for this neck of the woods though.

I made my way along that dirt road for about a half a mile when we came to a dead end. There was no house. No nothing. Just an illegal trash dump that stunk to high heaven. Alarm bells started going off in my head. I knew I was in trouble. I rammed the gear into reverse just as he slammed his left forearm into my face.

I jammed my foot against the gas and flung the truck around as hard as I could flinging him against his door of the truck. It threw him off balance just enough that it made him let up just a little wiht his punches. I could feel myself fading. I knew my only hope was to build up enough speed to make him afraid that we would wreck.

As I rammed the gear to go forward I saw him take a knife out of his pocket and I threw my arm up as he sliced down and cut my forearm. I still had my foot rammed against the gas as we were building up speed! The truck careened forward and bounced crazily from side to side on the ridges in that stupid dirt road!

"YOU BITCH! STOP!" He screamed at me and he went to cut me again. But I drove the truck into the nearest tree making sure that the brunt of the impact was on his side of the truck. The air bags deployed.

It didn't matter. We were both dead, but at least I took him with me and I spent eternity making him one miserable ghost.