Tuesday, June 20, 2017

It's Complicated

Since my dad died, I don't like the question, "How are you doing?" Because it's a very, very complicated question to answer -- especially to answer basically in passing as you bump into a friend in the store or on a walk or when you arrive at church. What's the 2 minute version of How I'm Doing?  I'm doing fine. I'm doing, I'm busy, I'm laughing, I'm going, I'm organizing, I'm packing, I'm loving... The doing is going fine.

But what's not fine are my thoughts. They're jumbled and confused. The whole answer is: I'm doing fine -- I'm doing everything I need to be doing and should be doing. And that feels normal and good and fine. But my brain and thoughts are not fine. Trying to process how this all happened and work through it is not fine. It's hard. And there's not a lot of time to process. So it comes in bits and pieces mostly when I don't feel ready. Often when a song comes on the radio or random moments a feeling washes over me that I just want to cry. But most of the time I'm in the process of doing, so it's not convenient to be feeling and so I have to repress it.

I find myself talking through the meetings with the doctors and nurses again. Thinking through the timeline of the first time we took him to the hospital and each subsequent visit. (How was it only 3 weeks from "brain bleed" to "doing great in rehab" to "not doing great" to "he's going to die? How was it only 5 weeks from "brain bleed" to death?" How did we go in just two month's time from the shock of "I think a brain tumor means we only have a year!" to "they said we may only have 6 months" to "days or weeks." Also, thinking through the days and what we thought was progress and more time to the moment when we discovered there was no more time. But then there was 10 more days.

I find myself giving people the information that makes them feel better about him dying. "He had cancer. He was 75. It was a blessing he didn't suffer for long. We're grateful to have had time to say goodbye. Everyone's doing fine." But what I'm thinking is: "Remember last year when you heard he had prostate cancer and you said, 'prostate cancer is no big deal?' Well, turns out it was a big deal."
And, "he was FINE until just a few weeks prior. I'm still very unsettled at how fast it went."
"It was the most traumatic 5 weeks of my life."
"His actual dying was intense and unsettling and scary."
"No, I never felt anything spiritual about his actual passing or dressing him in his temple clothes."
"The viewing and funeral and everyone here talking and remembering and laughing was actually kind of fun."
"What's wrong with me?"

The thing is, there's so much to say that one sentence doesn't cover it. And the experience is too important and too personal to tell it half-way. When the telling gets interrupted it leaves me feeling raw. So it's easier to not get into it. Because I need to say all that I need to say or else I can only say nothing at all. So, saying nothing by saying "I'm Fine" is much, much easier.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Dad's Tribute

I grew up in a home where we could run and shout and jump and chase, be loud and play, joke and tease. It was a happy place for kids because my mom and dad had few restrictions. My favorite memories as a child with my parents and family include BYU football games and Brick Oven Pizza, going on jogs, tickle monster and epic games of Hide and Seek, seminary student spook alleys in our basement, adventurous trips in a car that was always breaking down or travels through Mexico on a hot Mexican Train. Not to mention, Dad could summon us from anywhere with his incredibly loud whistle!

I loved that he always called me: “La.” I could always count on him making me laugh with his jokes or teasing. He made me feel like I was perfect just the way I was. I loved when he put his arm around me and asked me all about my life. He always wrapped his suit coat around us if we were cold. And if we were hungry he was happy to share his sandwich or would say, “Here! Have mine! I’ll make me another one.” He was the first to jump in a scrub clean my kitchen and happy to change a baby’s diaper. He never flinched at running to the store to buy feminine products for his girls. I will miss snuggling up next to him.

He was always optimistic and lived with the assumption that everyone was his best friend. When we got TP’d he told us children, “Getting toilet papered, means people really like you!”

One of his favorite expressions was: “I don’t see why not!” Can I have a sleepover? “I don’t see why not!” Can we host a New Year’s Party? “I don’t see why not!” Can we build a treehouse or hang a pulley or dig a hole to China in the backyard? Can I walk to the mall in bare feet or ride my bike and not come home until dark? Can I play nightgames and invite the neighborhood or turn the whole basement into a fort with blankets? Can I go toilet papering with my friends? “I don’t see why not.”

Dad didn’t order a Burrito, but a “Burrito!” And he didn’t love Mexico, he loved “Mexico” and served his mission in “El Salvador!” I loved hearing him speak Spanish to anyone who looked like they would understand. I was proud that he spoke so well and used it so frequently. If he guessed that someone spoke Spanish, he asked them where they were from and struck up a conversation – genuinely interested in learning as much as he could and making them new friends.

He loved my friends and especially loved getting to know them. He actually took it a step further and essentially interrogated them so he could get to know the REAL person. A friend just messaged me remembering the first conversation he had with my dad. First Dad asked him all about his job, where he was from, his education, etc. And then, within the first 10 minutes of meeting, Dad asks (as he probably stared intently in his eyes), “Now tell me about your wife. What about her first attracted you to her?!” So typical Dad!
I always looked forward to get togethers between our family and my dad’s brother Ron’s family The two of them would get comfortable, stretch out, and tell stories that made each other and the rest of us laugh and laugh. They enjoyed each other so much, I knew that was the relationship I wanted for me and my siblings.

He let me get my own testimony at my own pace. He wasn’t nervous or concerned that my pace wasn’t fast enough. He didn’t check in with me to see if I was paying my tithing, saying my prayers or reading my scriptures. He trusted us to figure life out. As a result I grew up feeling my dad would love me whoever I became.

It was unique raising children at the same time he was. Sometimes I’d confide, “I’m really worried.” His response was always, “You have great kids, Angela. You don’t have to worry about a thing.” He saw our potential and never questioned if we were maximizing it – in both us and his grandkids. He loved us just the way we were.

As a teen I remember saying, “I’m planning on going to the Telestial Kingdom” 
  He stopped short and just looked at me: “Why would you say that?” 
  “Because I’m not perfect and I never will be.” 
  “Angela! Of course you’re going to the Celestial Kingdom! You don’t have to be perfect – you just have to keep trying.” 
That was honestly the first time I realized that it actually might be a possibility. He helped me understand the nature of God. God didn’t expect perfection.

In 9th grade seminary he offered the 30-day challenge to gain a testimony. He asked if I was going to participate. And because I was a teenager, my response was more confrontational. “I don’t want to get a testimony because you tell me I have to. I’m not even sure if I believe the Church is true.” I wondered if this might elicit some anger which at that age I was good at provoking. Instead he was enthusiastic! “That’s wonderful! If you’re starting to wonder about whether the church is true or not, it means you’re starting to think for yourself and not rely on other people’s testimony! That’s the first step!”

It wasn’t the reaction I was expecting, but it opened me up to the idea that I didn’t HAVE to believe to be on the right path. That it was okay to have questions and unbelief and doubt. That those doubts were actually a normal beginning.

My dad blessed my life and the lives of my husband and children. I remember him saying, “If you don’t marry Dan, I think you’re mom will. And if she doesn’t, I will!”

Most importantly I loved his jokes and that he could make anyone laugh. This last month has been hard as some days he was so, so sick. On our first trip to the hospital, Diane was nervously explaining to a Valet as we arrived at the hospital that Dad couldn’t even get out of the car and he was “dead weight.” Literally paralyzed on one side, unable to move and barely able to speak, Dad’s head is on my lap and he whispers in his joking voice “I really wish she wouldn’t refer to me as dead!”

Then up at the hospital the nurse is explaining that she’ll have to give him a catheter and check his colon for a stool sample. He still couldn’t speak, but his lips started working and he seriously got a twinkle in his eye. And Diane and I just looked at each other and busted up laughing – he is totally trying to make a joke! This is killing him that he can’t think clearly enough to make a joke!

Dad, I love you so much. In your words you told me each night as you tucked me in to bed and bounced the bed up and down so even our last awake moments were fun and funny:

Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mission Miracles

From Marty's Mission President after I sent the e-mail telling him my Dad had passed away:
Sister Shaeffer,
Thank you for sending your email. It was a wonderful blessing that I just happened to be with your son today and was able to speak with him just five minutes ago and share the news about your father passing away with him. He is a wonderful young man. He understands the Gospel and understands the plan of salvation and knows that he will be with his grandfather again. We were able to give him a wonderful priesthood blessing. He is in good hands and knows that his grandpa is wearing a missionary badge now on the other side and will be helping him. We are sorry for your loss. We love you all and will be praying for you.
Pres. Egan

From Marty with more detail:
Hello dear oyatachi! That just means parents by the way
Sounds like it was a tough week for everyone at home, but also that it was extremely spiritual, there's a reason that Grandpa had to go home now, because the lord does nothing except it's for the benefit of us, just his way of thinking is so beyond us it's hard to realize all the reasons for why things are happening. I'm glad I was able to get the video to work, and that his last memories of me are good ones. The last time I was with him was at my setting apart which is a pretty good final memory.

So we had interviews with the president on Saturday, we do them once a transfer now. He came down to Okinawa the night before, there was a baptism of one of the sisters investigators in our ward that he came to as well, the baptism was very spiritual and I actually got to be in the circle to help confirm her as part of the church. It was pretty awesome. Being worthy to hold the priesthood is one of the best feelings in the world.

So after our interview finished we went home and started cooking dinner and my comp got a call from President Egan and he asked if I was there and wanted us to come back to the church really quick. At this point I was pretty sure I knew what it was going to be about and I didn't really know how I was feeling. He sat both of us down together and started telling us that he was reading his emails and was glad that he had read them right at the time he did. He gave us a really spiritual message and I think it was the first time in a very long time that I've actually cried. He said that he knows exactly how we feel. His 91 year old father just suffered a heart attack and they are pretty sure he's not gonna make it. He did say that he's excited for him though because it had been over 50 years since his father had talked to his father. We talked a little bit more about how Grandpa adair gets to join me out in the missionary field and it was just really nice to be able to hear that from him. He then had my companion be the voice for the blessing and him and my companion both did it for me. It was really spiritual. 
The cool thing was that our presidents wife, in our interview (we interview with her right before the president) more of a chat than an interview, but we were talking a little bit about the spirit world and she told me of a story of a mother who was in a really bad accident and they didn't think she was gonna live but she did. She had a bunch of problems after that but was still the same person just really handicapped. Her son later went out on a mission and was having a really rough time for a little while. The parents were talking and were thinking about what they could do for him, and she says, I know what I can do. Then she died. She was able to help him from the other side. We kinda just talked about how much there is going on on the other side that we don't even realize, and that right now, Heavenly Father needed one of his most elite spanish speakers in the force, and I know that he's already helping me from up there.
Anyways I'll have some more of my week's experiences on my weekly email. Love you guys! Take care

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dad's Obituary

Our love, our Dad, our truest friend and hero, Michael David Adair, Sr. returned to his Heavenly Father May 19 at 7:20 p.m. surrounded by family at his home in Holladay, Utah. He was born April 27, 1942 in Salina, Utah to Wanda Jensen and Joseph Smith Adair and is married to Diane Done Adair, the love of his life.
“Our love” was a romantic, a lover of every soul and saw the good in everyone. He was a wonderful listener and validated your opinions and thoughts even when they didn’t agree with his. He was an eternal optimist, believing that everything would always work out. Everyone was always welcome in his heart. Come as you are and leave feeling loved.
He was the definition of hope and a true believer in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and their desire for us to be happy.  He loved the words of Jesus, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.“
He was told in his Patriarchal Blessing that he would learn to speak the Spanish language without an accent. During his mission in Central America he fulfilled this part of his blessing. Because of his mission, he developed a lifelong love of the Latino people. He travelled all over Central and South America developing forever friendships through exploration of Book of Mormon lands and later in life with his work doing security for The Church. He treated all he met with love and dignity.
He was influential in bringing thousands of souls to Jesus Christ as a seminary teacher at Olympus High and Olympus Jr. through his testimony and love of the Savior. No one loved teaching so dearly and taught with such great enthusiasm. He would spend hours and hours preparing lessons. It mattered so much to him that every student would feel the Spirit and look to Jesus. He was a champion to those that felt unsure or felt like they didn’t have a place. They all felt safe with him. Many seminary teachers looked up to him as a voice of integrity and voice of truth. He spoke with passion, love and forgiveness.
Every day was filled with laughing, jokes and adventure. He loved road trips, taking the “scenic route” and never taking the same road twice. He looked forward to hikes in the gully of Tanner Park with Diane and their three dogs who at the end never left his side. Car rides to see the changing of the leaves was one of his favorite things. He loved painting with acrylics and creating pictures he knew would make people happy. He also looked forward to planting flowers in the spring and fall to make his yard beautiful.
He is a father of nine, and absolutely adored his children and grandchildren. He spent his life loving and leading them to find their own paths and their own testimony. He often said, “I’m so grateful that during my retirement years I’m raising three wonderful boys. I’d much rather be doing that instead of playing golf.” He made time for each of his kids and you never felt rushed with him. He handled the role of parenting and grandparenting at the same time masterfully, always giving everyone individual attention. We will miss his endearing call to his children and Diane saying, “Hi, My love!” We will miss him grabbing us by the elbow to let us know he cares about us. He was so outgoing with everyone he met.
Mike made my dreams come true, giving me three amazing boys and brought me into his family of six children. We all love each other so much. He filled my life with such hope, joy and adventure. I always had such a settled feeling with him. We love the little things – sitting on our patio with my legs stretched across his lap talking, reading or just being silent.
We will love you and miss you forever!
Mike is survived by his wife, Diane Done Adair, and children Luke Adair, Max Adair, Sam Adair, Angela (Dan) Shaeffer, Michelle (Brent) Paul, Michael (Katie) Adair, Sheree (Jared) Winger, Rebekah (Matt) Nugent, Rachel (Jeremy) Lyman, and 23 grandchildren; brother Ron (Barbara) Adair and nieces and nephews who all love him so much.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, May 24 at 11:00 a.m. at Olympus 3rd Ward, 4100 South Camille St., Holladay UT. Viewing is Tuesday, May 23 from 6-8 p.m. at the ward and Wednesday, one hour prior to the service. Interment Larkin Sunset Lawn. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Humanitarian Fund.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

What Dan Did

My dad's first night home, Dan volunteered to spend the night with him so the rest of us could sleep in our own beds.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Wednesday Started Out Normal

I went to the house for a meeting and then in the middle Diane called and my Dad's right side couldn't move again. Early that morning when they realized my dad couldn't move, she prayed for help and within seconds, my brother, Michael, stopped by. He said he had just dropped off Jacob at school and decided to stop by. It wasn't a coincidence Michael. You were an answer to her prayer.

He helped get my dad in a wheelchair and then down the stairs. He advised Diane to call Acute Care. She did but hadn't heard back. She called me while I was at the house. Fortunately, the hospital called back while I was on my way over.

My dad was having a hard time sitting up straight in his wheelchair. He was talking softly again. His right side couldn't move at all. It was exactly like the last time his brain was bleeding. Luke and some friends and a neighbor came over to help lift his wheelchair down the stairs. The neighbor was a dear friend of my dad, Christian, and as we were about to drive away, I got out and ran and asked him to give my dad a blessing. It was a beautiful, sweet blessing asking for him to receive strength and also for him to understand the Lord's plan for him.

And then we headed back to the hospital.

The same wonderful people were working. They started the blood work and sent him for a CT scan. The scan compared to the last scan after the craniotomy showed the blood area had gotten bigger. This time it was fluid and blood. (When blood breaks down it turns into fluid.) They said because of his advanced state of cancer, they couldn't perform any more aggressive life saving measures. We talked about hospice and I called the boys to come up to the hospital. Diane grieved. A social worker came to speak to the boys and Diane and talk about grief. We asked if he could be given steroids like the previous weekend to help with his lucidity.

I texted my sisters and brother, Uncle Ron and Dan. Between everything happening, it was hard to communicate effectively. Just quick updates.

In the afternoon the boys and I left to get to their house to get their bed taken apart and the room ready for the hospital bed coming.

They arrived home by medi-van. Uncle Ron drove down from Logan to meet them. Diane and I talked with Hospice while Uncle Ron took care of my dad.  The steroids definitely helped. He regained some strength in his right side and was able to communicate with everyone.

Then everyone started coming by to give him a hug and tell him they love him.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Early Morning Baptisms

Nick and I went to do baptisms this morning before school. We left the house at 5:30 a.m. with 4 of his church buddies and their moms. I'm so grateful for good friends and good examples.

While we sat at the font and waited for our boys to be baptized, we had a full row of teenage girls on our side and there was full row of teenage boys on the other. Youth who get up at 5:30 in the morning to spend an hour in the temple.

Nick was excited to do baptisms and especially loved going with his friends.

I especially loved that after I took him to school, I was able to come back and have a nap.

I went to my Dad's house at noon so Diane could get her hair done. He was down on the couch when I arrived. He looked well, but he said he didn't feel as good today as he did yesterday. And he felt that was "worrisome." Last night after getting discharged from Huntsman, they went to Sam's last basketball game and didn't get into bed until evening. I thought he should rest for a couple of days and then evaluate how he feels. It may be that even a little bit of activity wears him out enough that he needs more recovery time than he did a month ago.

We ate lunch together and visited and then I had him rest while I read my book. It was nice being together.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Fasting and Altruism

Sunday we had a fast for my dad. I thought it was pretty cool because when I sent out a reminder Saturday night about our family fast, Michael was the first one to reply that he was planning on participating. Years ago I realized that lots of religions have some sort of fast: Jews keep Yom Kippur; Christians participate in Lent; Muslims have Ramadan. All participate in the fast to bring them closer to God.

I told Dan that I needed a day to sleep. Part of me wanted to skip church, but I knew I actually wanted the camaraderie of my ward family. Luckily we have afternoon church, so Dan got up with the dog and I stayed in bed until 11:00. The rest of the morning was peaceful. Nick was worried because he accidentally drank some water. We told him God wants us to do our best -- not be perfect; especially when he did it accidentally. It's pretty sweet that he was trying so hard. In fact, he fasted until dinner -- that's longer than he's done before.

Later, when we were preparing dinner, he popped a piece of cheese in his mouth. I saw his eyes get big and then he ran over to the trash and spit it out. We told him the story of Dan's cousin who was participating in a family fast for her mom who was dying of cancer. She was only Nick's age and snuck an Oreo cookie. Her mom passed away and for years she thought it was her fault because she hadn't kept a perfect fast. We emphasized to Nick that Heavenly Father loves us just like a real Father. He understands when we make mistakes and loves that we're trying.

Between Rachel's pregnancy, Dimitrios' son's death and Dad's cancer, we've had three family fasts in the last 6 months. I love my family. I love how much we care about each other. On Monday when we talked, Michael said he loved that by fasting, thoughts of Dad were at the forefront of his mind.

Months ago someone told me they didn't believe in altruism. That people perform acts of kindness and love with a hope of some kind of personal benefit. I thought about for a few days and ultimately disagreed. I believe prayer and fasting are altruistic. When I prayed for my niece after her terrible car accident, there was no benefit in it for me. I simply wanted to pray on her behalf. During that prayer I said "I don't know what to pray for." And then waited. A few seconds later the idea of what she needed came to my mind. That's true altruism. I didn't pray for what I wanted or for what I thought she needed. I wanted to pray for what God wanted. And then did so. I had nothing personal to gain. No one knew I'd spent those few minutes praying so I wasn't looking for "pats on the back" or people to see me as a good person. That's altruism.

Fasting is the same. Generally we do it without anyone else knowing. We certainly don't do it for personal gain. In fact, it's hard. But we go about our normal day. It's personal and sometimes its the only thing we can do to show someone we love them. And I suppose there's nothing tangible to show for it. Just our faith that God hears our prayers, that fasting somehow makes our prayers stronger, and that the recipient is boosted in return. Altruism. We do it purely out of love.

Diane reported that evening that Dad felt really great. There was a peaceful spirit in our home all day. Marge and I worked together making Wacky Cake and $300 Frosting. I'd promised we'd make it for Easter because it was close to her Mom's birthday. But then we ended up going to Sheree's. And last week was busy with the Eagle ceremony. But today we made it and it was delicious! We made two batches. One with the regular recipe and the other with whole wheat flour, maple syrup instead of sugar and applesauce instead of oil. They were both super tasty.

We had a simple family home evening after dinner with Chris sharing a scripture and some discussion about how 2000 years ago the people of the Book of Mormon time had the same arguments against God and religion as they do today. Also that in Alma the people declared they knew the planets rotated around the sun and they were sophisticated in their scientific beliefs -- long before other people still thought the world was flat. Marge shared a neat story from church about missionary work. A disappointed boy converted only "one fat dutch lady" on his mission in Holland and 70 years later his son received a letter from that dutch lady's granddaughter that over 400 people had been converted as a result of that Dutch Lady's conversion.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

An Officer and a Gentleman

On Friday Nick left in the pouring rain to a scout campout in Goblin Valley where they planned to hike 8 miles through a slot canyon. He's gone on so many campouts since he got to go along with Dan while he was still 11, that he's become really good at knowing what he needs! He got himself packed up and made his tin foil dinner with just a small amount of help (mainly just folding the tinfoil right so his food didn't escape!)

They got back late the next afternoon. He had a great time and although it was cold, it didn't rain! Also got this note from one of his leaders:

Nick was a perfect gentleman on the camp out.  He's a great example to the other boys,  he's helpful, kind,  and very good natured. He'll be missed tremendously. He finished the hike in the lead group with what appeared to be endurance to spare.

He really is such a nice kid!

While Nick was at his campout, Chris was at an overnight for his friend's 16th birthday. That left Dan and I with a house to ourselves on Saturday morning! Well... that is us and a dog who still needed to be taken out at 7 a.m. We went on a walk and then took Kershaw to his last puppy training class. Which ended up taking 2 hours because all of our trainer's support team was out of town. After we came home and changed, we went to an afternoon wedding reception. It was a leisurely day all day.

After the reception, we got a text from Diane that my Dad was doing awesome up at the hospital. He was feeling so much better and getting around (to the bathroom and back) with very little support. An old seminary teacher friend had stopped by and they were laughing and chatting about old times which Dad loved. They are feeling very relieved and hopeful!

After we had a nice afternoon nap, we got dinner at the lobster roll truck in the neighborhood. Sooooo delicious! On the way home from a stop at the grocery store, we noticed a police car on the side of the road. Didn't think much of it until we went to pick up Nick from his friend's house. He was with a bunch of girls and boys all in a panic because they were toilet papering and someone called the police. To top it off one of the girls dropped her phone. This made me glad because I really hate toilet papering so I'm hoping the potential police incident has scared Nick straight. He wanted us to go back and help the girl find her phone but I said that I wasn't in the mood to talk to the cops tonight and they needed to "face the music." They got it all worked out without parental intervention. Did I mention most of these kids are youngest children?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Back Again

Friday morning Dad had a radiation appointment to radiate his hip and hope for pain relief. Michelle and I went over to the house and luckily Luke had come home because his class was cancelled. We needed all of us to get him in the car. Diane was discouraged. That morning getting him in the shower was difficult and overwhelming. He had lost strength again. A week earlier in rehab he was doing so good -- walking just holding on to his therapist's arm for support. Now he couldn't support himself again.

Luke and I were on either side of him. Diane in front and Michelle holding on to his belt in back. Dad couldn't remember what leg was supposed to step down each step. I'd tap his leg... "It's this leg, Dad. Move this leg." Sometimes he would get it. Other steps he'd say, "I'm not sure what to do." A few times he felt he was falling. Luke would comfort him in his upbeat voice, "I've got you, Dad. I'm not going to let you fall. You're doing so awesome Dad! You've got this!"

I am so grateful that my dad's boys love and care for him so much. They are patient and caring and loving in a situation that no teenager should have to be in. It was kind of breaking my heart and bursting with gratitude all at the same time.

We finally got him to the car.

After the trek to radiation, Michelle and Diane called that they were taking him back to Huntsman. After they had gotten home from radiation, he started to get confused. He couldn't remember why they'd been to the doctor that morning. "Was it for my prostate?" "No, you had pain. Do you remember where?" "In my knee?"  It reminded them of how he was acting with the brain bleed.

Diane called Luke and asked him to grab some buddies to help get Dad in the car. This is the text she sent the next day:
"I just wanted to tell u something about ur sweet boys. Yesterday Mike started to fade again and I knew we needed to get him back up to Huntsman. Mike is too weak to get down our stairs so I sent Luke a text and told him to grab some friends so they could carry Mike down to the car. Within 5 minutes Luke and Chris pulled up followed by McKay and Noah. Right behind them came Jon n Austin running.  They were able to carry Mike to the car [carried the wheelchair right down the stairs], get him in, hug us both, and when we pulled out of the driveway they were in a group hug comforting Luke in the garage. Really it was so great. Thx for raising such amazing boys."

I really am grateful for Chris and Luke's group of friends. They love to have fun and they have such good hearts. They are such great young men.

I met Dad, Diane and Michelle just after they arrived at Huntsman. First item of business was to get a CT scan. They got him on oxygen. He was much more coherent after the oxygen. We wondered if maybe the exertion and low oxygen had caused the confusion? Regardless, everyone felt it was the right call to check him out. When tested, his strength wasn't as weak as before. He was conversing, asking questions about his care and was involved. Yet he would need to close his eyes regularly and although he could follow two-step commands, he couldn't do three-step commands. He wasn't confused this time but would just think and then say, "I can't remember what you said."

At one point the nurse practitioner, Emily, (who we LOVE) had to ask what his wishes were about starting his heart if it were to stop. She said, "I'm not asking because I think you're going to die. I'm asking because it's important we know what you want. If you were to die, do you want us to bring you back to life."
Dad said, "No."
Diane and I immediately started to cry. Then he asked, "Well, what do you think, Diane?"
She said she didn't want to lose him. But that it was his decision he had to make.
Then he said he wasn't sure. I said, "If you're not sure, Dad, then I think your answer is, 'yes,' you do want them to revive you. You're not ready. You'll know when you're ready."
So he said with a laugh, "Can I change my mind?" And we were all relieved.

Soon it was time for Michelle to go to the airport (she managed to fly out for a couple of days in between buying a house in Richmond, VA and planning a move this summer and then just days prior canceling that plan when Brent was offered a job in Chicago. AFTER they already sold their house. So they needed to find a new one. It's a wonderful story that maybe she'll blog! Ha!)

We received the report from the neurologist that no bleed was indicated on his brain. What a relief! Lots of old blood still, but it was probably ok. Diane was happy to get him home. The nurse said it was imperative that he have a few days of rest. He hadn't had ANY rest time since leaving rehab two days prior with so many hospital visits. Hoping that his confusion was simply exhaustion.

Just as a nurse came in and took out his IV, Emily, the Nurse practitioner arrived (remember, we LOVE her). The attending neurologist had asked to run some blood tests and from that they discovered his platelets were low, his hemoglobin was low and his blood wasn't clotting too well.  They wanted to admit him and give him a platelet infusion/transfusion, steroids, and keep him on oxygen. His confusion and weakness was a result of the low platelets. Unfortunately, the low platelets were a result of the cancer being in his bone marrow and therefore the marrow isn't a good factory anymore. She said his former medication, Xtandi, would be out of his system by now so wasn't a factor in the problem.

Even though Diane was so ready to get him home, when the nurse came in with the new information and a plan, we all felt so good about it. It felt like it was possible to get him some real strength and help him feel better.

And then it was 6:00 p.m. and I had to leave because Dan and I were going to the Jazz game. It sounds trivial, but it was actually so nice to do something trivial and normal. Diane and Dad wholeheartedly agreed. Diane promised that she was going home to sleep and Dad promised he didn't want anyone to stay the night with him because he'd sleep better. And Diane also promised she'd call me if she needed me.

The Jazz lost but it was a great game and we had fun going out with our friends, The Englands.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Happy 75th Dad!

Had a great walk with KT this morning. Hiked from her house up to Tanner Park and across the bridge to Wasatch. Considered turning around because I needed to pick up Michelle at airport, but then decided to walk more and forget showering! Hiked for over 2 hours -- it was a welcome respite from the chaos of the last few weeks.

Back at KT's I got an urgent message from Diane -- my dad was in so much pain they needed to go back to the hospital. I called Dan at work and we both rushed over to help get him down the stairs and into the car. He's been so weak, he can't move without people on either side for him to drape his arms over and support him. We got him in the car and Diane and Dad headed to hospital. I headed to the airport to get Michelle.

Did I mention it's his 75th Birthday?

Then we headed straight to Huntsman. When we got there the same wonderful staff was on duty. I honestly wanted to cry at the site of these ladies who had been so compassionate, knowledgable and caring a couple of weeks earlier! Their smiles and competent care were a welcome relief!

And on the flip side, Dad and Diane were super excited to see Michelle!

Dad felt okay when he wasn't moving, but any movement created terrible pain in his hip. They were going to take x-rays to make sure there wasn't a fracture. However, the x-rays showed no fracture -- just the cancer tumors causing pain.

I stayed at the hospital for a short while and then left Michelle there and went home to take the dog out and get Nick's carpool. Also dashed all around to get supplies dad would need to assist him at home. (Happy Birthday, Dad! Have some new diapers!) (Sorry, is that okay I'm posting on the blog? Just keepin' it real... Besides, I love diapers. When I had pneumonia, they were a lifesaver. I could cough and hack away. It was awesome!)

A bit later Diane and Michelle texted that we were absolutely planning on celebrating Dad's 75th birthday. Dessert at their home!

Everyone who was here came -- Sheree's family, Michael's family, Our family, Dad's and Michelle. I brought balloons and an ice cream cake and we had a fun evening sitting in their living room talking, laughing, eating and enjoying each other's company. Dad did great sitting on the couch visiting with everyone, surrounded by our family and enjoying everyone's company.

When everyone went home, Sheree, Michelle and I got Diane & Dad's room prepped in ways we thought would help Dad be comfortable and make life easier for him getting to/from the bathroom.

Diane and Dad were exhausted by the end of the evening, but it was a happy celebration.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Happy Birthday, Courtney!

Beautiful Courtney turns 22 today!

Monday, April 24, 2017

25th Anniversary!

25 Years!
At one time in our life we said we should take a fun trip for our 25th. But really, our house is our gift this year. 
So we said no additional presents. 
For the last few years we've spent the night up at Deer Valley to celebrate -- a late-night dinner at The St. Regis (coincidentally our anniversary always falls on 
Concerto Night with Marty in the orchestra 
so we've headed up to DV after the concert),
 and then back early in the morning for lacrosse games. 
This year Chris offered to hold down the fort 
so we could go overnight, but with Kershaw 
having such bad nights, we wanted to stay home and 
make sure his schedule didn't get disrupted. 
We talked about going to dinner together, but then decided what we really wanted to do was take the boys with us. 
So we went to a nice dinner downtown and then up to the hospital to see my dad--Nick hadn't had 
a chance to see him yet.
And then we came home. It was perfect.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

As Big as a Pistachio!

Luke got his Eagle on Sunday and my dad was super sad about missing it. In fact, when the rehab people told him he'd be staying about a week, he said, "Sure. Except that I need to leave for 90 minutes to go to my son's Eagle ceremony." They said that wasn't possible. My Dad didn't like hearing that and in his words, "pressed her a little to see if she would budge." In my words, I'd say he was getting pretty ticked and wasn't about to take no for an answer and this conversation was escalating at an accelerated rate. But they talked through it and he said he understood and it all ended friendly. (But I was sweating bullets... Just kidding. No, not really.)

Basically if you leave the hospital, insurance presumes you're well enough to leave. So you can't come back and have them pay for it. He was pretty dang bummed. And that was heartbreaking.

But technology is awesome so we helped him FaceTime the ceremony. Dan went to the ceremony to FaceTime from there and I went to the hospital to receive the call with my dad. And it went perfectly. It was awesome that when Luke got his award, the phone got passed to him and my dad could congratulate him real time.

That was the cool part of the evening.

The not cool part was that my dad had had a miserable night the night before. With prostate cancer comes prostate problems. In fact, they came before the cancer. So when my dad was trying to pee and he couldn't, he assumed he had a blood clot like he's had before. He said he was in a ton of pain beginning at 8 in the evening. After an hour. he called Diane to come back to the hospital. The nurses said there was a urologist they could call, but wouldn't call him unless he had 400 ml of fluid in his bladder. They did a scan and he only had 200 so THEY ASSUMED HE WAS FINE! In fact Diane had to beg them for pain meds for him. Believe me, if my dad says he has pain, he has serious pain! (We have a super high pain threshold in our family!)

And at 1:00 a.m. after being in intense pain that he said the meds didn't even touch, Dad passed a kidney stone the size of a pistachio! Um, Yeah.

Not a pistachio.
So on Sunday, I was trying to help him get comfortable before I left and he felt the nurses and aides hadn't been very attentive throughout the day. He would ask for something and they'd forget to do it. Well right then, last night's nurse shift came on and came in the room to work on the computer. So I asked if we could get a few things. Tim mumbled something and then I realized he was getting an aide. I politely said the aides hadn't returned previously when my dad asked so could he make sure my dad was taken care of?

And then Tim and the other nurse got super defensive and weird. He said they were perfectly attentive. I said they weren't. And my dad chimed in that they weren't. And I said, in fact, Tim, you haven't been here all day to know. And I said it was neither here nor there now, but now he needed some attention. And also, Tim, what's the plan for tonight if he gets in pain and has another kidney stone?

And Tim said, "It Wasn't a Kidney Stone. And we kept checking his bladder and he didn't have much urine and so we couldn't call the doctor. We only call the doctor if its an emergency and his bladder is distended. And his wasn't. So he couldn't have been in that much pain. And we did give him pain meds." (Yeah, after Diane begged you to because you didn't believe he was in pain!) And the other nurse is nodding away.

"Tim," I said, in my super firm, very 'I mean business voice,' "What is this then?" I held up the specimen cup that was still holding the large kidney stone (still sitting at his bedside table... what?!), and thrust it in his face. "I don't care what this is! No man wants to pass this giant rock trying to pee!! Are you kidding me?! Of course he was in a ton of pain! Everyone knows that kidney stones cause tons of pain! So what's the plan for tonight?!"

And Tim is an idiot nurse and didn't have a plan and quite frankly I think he was bugged that he had to work at work.

"Tim, I want clean sheets for my dad."
And lady-nurse says, "They aren't dirty."

"Well, you know what? My dad thinks they are and he wants clean sheets. So get the dang sheets. I'll do it myself if I have to! It takes about 10 seconds to change his sheets and if he wants new sheets, and a new brief every hour on the hour, it's your job to get him some! Geez! It's not that hard!"

So Tim did agree to send an aide in and she was smiley and darling. So that won some hospital points. But Tim didn't. He was a jerk.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Long Road

Kershaw has completely gone off the rails and poops in his crate at night -- sometimes several times at night -- no matter when we try to get up with him. Been going on ever since we got back from Seattle and Dan's going crazy. Me too. But Dan is really frustrated. Mainly because he's the one whose been getting up with him because he's nice and I can't deal with one more thing.

Yes, his crate is the right size and we don't feed him after 6 and who knows if he's sick and we have bedding or no bedding, depending on what we're trying that day, and he's not crated too long etc. etc. etc. etc. It's a mystery and I hope Kershaw lives to see if it turns out ok for him in the end.

Chris and Dan went to the racetrack early today -- something they've been looking forward to for a long time! It's an all-day thing, getting four runs on the track throughout the day with an instructor, and also watching professional racing. They had a blast! Chris says it's the funnest day he's ever had and Dan said Chris is really good at it. They've got a few more days scheduled this summer and Nick's going to go out and watch them too.

Once they got off, I took Kershaw down and gave him a bath. Then dried him well and brushed him. I was able to read my scriptures while he napped and get the house tidied up. Doesn't a clean house make everyone feel better? Nick and I took him to puppy training class -- mostly to ask Dave for suggestions about what to do. (And a little bit to see if Kershaw was afraid of him and if he secretly was a bad trainer while we left him when we were out of town. But Kershaw loves him and was so excited to see him.)

On the way home, we drove past the end of the Salt Lake Marathon. It was 11:30 a.m., at mile 18. The street was still blocked off on one side with a water station with supporters and police at each intersection. There weren't a lot of runners by that time. In fact I didn't think there would be any 4 hours into the race all the way back at mile 18. But soon a woman ran by. A man ran by her side but he wasn't wearing a number. I assumed he was there for support. Up the hill I made out another woman. Pretty heavy-set and jogging at mile 18. Behind her a ways was another runner.

I was so overcome by their dedication, I started to weep. Already running for 4 hours and looking at at least 2 more hours to go. I prayed for them that they wouldn't get discouraged and they could see how far they'd come. 18 Miles! It was so inspirational. Also knowing how hard they had worked over several months to get there. They made my day.

There weren't a lot of them, but there were still a few determined to make it no matter how long it took!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Goals... What Matters Most

Need I say I haven't kept up with any of my goals? Story of my life. Kind of the story of everyone's lives. We make goals, life gets in the way, we don't have time and then we're back to square one again. I have kept up pretty good on no sugar, which is good because otherwise I would have eaten my emotions. Kind of like when we found out my dad had cancer and I literally gained 10 pounds. Getting out walking has also kept me sane. Also went on a bike ride. I haven't made 5x/week of exercise, but I've gotten out and that's been good for my head.


Dan and I gave away our Jazz tickets and instead went to the hospital and had dinner with my dad. Then we watched the Jazz game together in his room. It was a nice evening and I'm glad I'm married to someone who appreciates what matters most.

I think "what matters most" can relate to goals as well. My goals are to help me improve in areas I want to work on. Also to help me feel like I'm making the best use of my time. I've got a good sense of balance about me and I don't beat myself up when I fall short. Because right now eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies, doing Kegels and doing my British Lit homework aren't really what's most important. I COULD fit it all in. Of course I could. But I'd make myself crazy doing it. I realize it only takes a bit of planning. But my mind needs a rest sometimes. Time when I'm not checking off my list or planning ways "to get everything done." So I COULD, but I Don't. Because it matters, but it doesn't matter most right now.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Spent the afternoon with Dad and attended a couple of physical therapy sessions with him. 
PT was a couple of short walks with rests in between. He commented he feels so good in the morning and is surprised at how such a short walk fatigues him.
Also stood on a foam pad and tried to keep balanced. Did ok but needs work.
He's walking holding on to his therapist, but not using any other devices.
Occupational Therapy was a game of Hi-Q using velcro blocks that he had to reach to either side to pick up and attach to the board and do the same as he removed them. A good way to practice reaching, using both hands and cognitive all in one.

In between sessions he slept soundly.
I'm reading "The God Who Weeps."