Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kay's Day - 06/30/2011

Got up early this morning because Linda was coming by around 7:15 am to go for a morning hike with me. We were meeting my friend RuthAnne over at Towsley Canyon. It was starting to get pretty warm by the time we got there, but it wasn't too bad and when we got into The Narrows of the canyon, it cooled down about 20 degrees because of the narrow passage and the high cliffs. It was very nice. We did about a 3 mile hike. When I got home, I remembered that I had not bought my Lotto ticket, so I headed over to the liquor store to get one. I had considered giving up the Lotto, but I know that Ben would want me to continue playing. Came back home and had an early lunch because I had not had breakfast. When I hike, I don't usually eat breakfast before I go. Watched my soap then got a call from Linda. She wanted to bring over the meat she bought for Ben's memorial BBQ and put it in my freezer in the garage. When she left, I went over to Wal-Mart to buy a few groceries. My brother Keith is coming to stay with me for a couple of days this weekend, so I needed to pick up a few things. Came back home and watched TV a little and uploaded the photos I took on our hike this morning to my photo sharing website. My older brother Ron called me and told me he had fallen in his living room today before he went to work. I worry about him living alone. Whoa, listen to me….I'm now living alone too. While I was out shopping today, I remembered how Ben was always so protective of me. If I was going somewhere, hiking, to lunch, shopping, etc., he always insisted that I call him when I left home, call him when I got to my destination, call him when I left my destination and call him again once I was home safely. I remember my friend Judy used to tell me how "cute" she thought that was. Now I have no one to worry about my comings and goings. I wish he was still here to worry about me like that.

Morning Hike

My friends RuthAnne, Linda and I went for a nice morning hike this morning in Towsley Canyon. This was the first time I've gotten to get out and hike since my husband Ben has passed away. It was getting very warm when we first started, but when we go into The Narrows, the temperatures went down about 20 degrees and it was so much cooler sitting there on the rocks. Hiked about 3 miles. Had a nice time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kay's Day - 06/29/2011

Went to sleep around 11:30 pm last night. I think I slept through most of the night OK. I woke up around 5:30 am but went back to sleep. I got up a little early today because Linda was coming over by 7:30 am to go for a morning walk with me. She got here around 7:15 am and we did a 2.5 mile walk. The weather was nice because we had "June Gloom" this morning so it was not hot. In fact, it's been nice all day. It's only 83° right now with a nice breeze. After the walk, Linda went home to shower and I came home and made breakfast and watched TV for awhile. Linda came back at 11:00 am and Ben's best buddy Ed got here around 11:15 am. He wanted to take Linda and me out for lunch. He said he wanted to thank her for being here for me when he couldn't be while Ben was in the hospital. He brought his little dog Sweetie. He had always wanted Ben to "meet" Sweetie, but it never happened. We went to Hometown Buffet for lunch. I know I was a little quiet all during lunch. I think having Ed here made me realize all the more that Ben was "missing". Some of the numbness is going away now and I am actually realizing that Ben is really gone and will never be coming home. I think I like it more when I was numb. I called Utter-McKinley Mortuary to see why I had not heard from them. They said they had Ben's ashes and my cremation locket ready for pickup but they were waiting for the death certificates to arrive. They said they would have them sometime today and just a little while ago, they called and told me everything was ready for pickup. I don't know if I'm ready for this. I don't want to go alone so I found out what their hours are. Linda is going out of town for the holiday weekend, so if she cannot go with me tomorrow, maybe my friend DeDee can go with me on Friday, or I'll wait until Keith comes this weekend and he and I can go over there on Saturday. In my mind, Ben is still in that hospital bed so when I actually pickup the box with his ashes in it, it will be a little too much reality for me.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kay's Day - 06/28/2011

Didn't get to sleep last night until around midnight again. Had more dreams that I don't remember. Got up around 6:50 am, got dressed and headed out for a morning walk before it got too warm. Did 1.5 miles. Had breakfast when I got home then watched a little TV. Went outside and filled the bird feeder. Got a message on Facebook from DeDee asking if I was going to the support group today. I called her to tell her I was and she said she would meet us there. Linda came at 9:20 am to take me over to the Grief Support Group at the senior center. After the group, we went to Round Table Pizza for lunch and sat and talked for almost 3 1/2 hours. I feel so much better when I'm out with friends. It kind of makes me feel that Ben is just at work like in the "old days" instead of gone forever. I still have not heard from the mortuary about Ben's ashes. If I don't hear from them by tomorrow afternoon, I'll probably call them to see what's going on. Now I'm home watching TV again.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Monday

Could not go to sleep last night at all. I finally got out of bed at 12:30 am and took a sleep aid pill. I think I went to sleep about 15 minutes later. I vaguely remember having another dream about Ben, but don't remember any of the details about it. I woke up around 5 minutes to 7:00 am so I got up and took my blood pressure medications and my vitamins and then I tried to go back to bed to get more sleep, but I could not sleep because around 8:00 am the community gardeners were on the other side of our wall trimming some bushes with a power trimmer. I finally got up around 8:30 am and had breakfast…a couple of eggs and some toast. After breakfast, I headed over to Wal-Mart to pick up a couple of things. Finally got some wild bird seed. I had run out back when Ben was in the hospital and had not gone to get more. When I got home, I decided to take 3 big bags of aluminum cans over to the recycle center. I probably won't save them anymore because Ben is not here to empty beer cans and I don't drink as much soda as I used to. I'll probably just put whatever aluminum cans I get in my recycle bin for the trash guys to pickup. Also, once I sell the 4Runner, I won't anyway to carry bags of cans over to the recycle center anymore. When I got home, I messed around on the computer for awhile and watched a little TV. It was already too hot to get out for a walk. Right now it is 95° here. I finally made myself some lunch and the decided to go over to Stater Brothers Market because they had cases of Coca Cola on sell. Thought I should at least get some in case guests come by plus my brother Keith is coming to spend the weekend with me and I know he'll want something to drink. I've been expecting the mortuary to call me today to say that Ben's ashes are ready for pickup, but have not heard from them yet. I won't go pick them up by myself. Linda said she would go with me. Today she is in Orange County celebrating her granddaughter's birthday.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What Kay Did On Sunday

Slept last night without any help from a pill. Fell asleep around 9:45 pm. Woke up around 5:00 am, but went right back to sleep. Just before I woke up around 7:00 am, I was dreaming about Ben. It was a very strange dream and I remember him asking me where I had been and he hugged me, but I could not really feel the hug and I could not really see his face very well. I got up at 7:00 am. My head felt like I had a hangover so I decided to go for a walk to try to clear my head. It didn't help because I cried the entire time I was out walking. Kept hoping I didn't run into anyone because they would wonder what the heck was wrong with me. I did about 1.5 miles. When I got home I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast and sent a text to Linda telling her that if Manny was watching a game on TV or something for her to let me know and she and I could do something together. I decided to do some laundry and turned on the TV. Linda texted back telling me they were going to Denny's for breakfast and wanted me to join them, and then go to the Classic Car Show in Newhall after breakfast. I declined the breakfast because I had already eaten and just didn't feel up to going right then plus I was waiting for the laundry to get done, but I called her and said I'd really like to go the car show with them. I didn't want to just sit around and mope like I did yesterday. Before they got here I went out and filled the bird bath up with water and filled my hummingbird feeders. I still need to get some wild bird seed because I ran out while Ben was in the hospital and just have not gone to get more yet. Linda and Manny picked me up around 11:30 am. It was really nice outside. A little warm but there was a nice breeze so it was tolerable. We spent about an hour or so at the car show taking photos then Manny took us over to Starbucks for some iced tea. I had never met Manny. He is really a nice guy. He might be interested in buying the 4Runner from me when I'm ready to sell it in a few months. The brought me back home around 3:00 pm and I got on the computer and posted my photos and now I'm sitting here watching "The Majestic" on ION Television. That was one of Ben's favorite movies because it was filmed in Ferndale, his favorite town in northern California. So all in all, I had a good day today. I hope more of my friends remember to invite me to join them for shopping trips or lunches, etc.

Newhall, CA 2nd Annual Car Show

My friend Linda and her boyfriend Manny invited me to go to the classic car show with them today. Here is a link to the photos I took:

Newhall Classic Car Show

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lonely Saturday

Very lonely today. I keep feeling like it was a Saturday that Ben had to work and I was here waiting for him to call me like he always did when he worked. I did not go to sleep last night until around 1:30 am. I had to take an OTC sleep aid to go to sleep. Woke up around 6:30 am but was so tired and groggy that I just got up, took my blood pressure medications and vitamins and then went back to bed. I slept until around 9:00 am. By the time I got up and had something to eat, it was already too hot outside to go for a morning walk. I just sat on the sofa and watched TV for several hours. I don't really pay much attention to what I'm watching. The gardener showed up and mowed the lawn. I had to figure out what I wanted for lunch. It's so hard for me anymore to do that since I'm never really hungry. While I was having lunch, a guy delivered a plant in a nice basket. It was from the staff of All Saints which is the facility where Ben was supposed to have his rehab before he was going to come home. It was nice of them to think of me. After lunch I decided I needed to get out of the house. I was starting to get a little crazy just sitting here. I drove over to Bridgeport Marketplace where there is a duck pond. I took my camera with me and shot a few photographs. There were a few people sitting around the pond. I think I may be in the "anger" stage of grief because it makes me so mad to see people enjoying their weekend together. Ben should be here enjoying the weekend with me. I am so angry with God for taking Ben away. I keep telling Him how mad I am with Him for doing that. I didn't stay at the duck pond very long because it is very hot outside. I came back home and now I'm just back sitting on the sofa with the TV on just wishing that time would pass and the hurt would go away.


This was just delivered. It is from the staff at All Saints.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kay's Friday Update

Went to the Caregiver's Support Group today with Linda. I don't really feel like this group applies to me anymore, but several members wanted me to continue coming and it is nice to be with other people to take my mind off of things. I'm fine when I am with people. After the group, Linda and I went to Subway for lunch. We sat outside and just talked for awhile. Linda had to be at work (her last day) at Sam's Club at 1:30 am. After I dropped her off, I went over to BofA to collect the last payment of Ben's State Disability. When I got home I found some fresh cut flowers on my front porch with a sympathy card from the 2 girls who live next door to me. I came in and was putting the cash away that I had just gotten at the bank and I started to cry. I would give all of the money I have, my house, my cars, everything I own just to have my sweet Ben back with me. It all means nothing to me without him by my side. I don't look forward to weekends at all now. Just two more days alone to sit and think about Ben. I wish there was some way to hurry this grief period along so it would not hurt so much.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Thursday

Went to be last night a little after 9:30 pm. I think I went right to sleep. I remember turning on the TV but I don't remember watching it. I had strange dreams last night but don't really remember what they were. I think Ben was in one or two of them, but don't really remember that either. I do remember that one of the dreams caused me to wake up really wake up kind of startled. I remember I looked at the clock and it was just after midnight and I felt kind of weird when I woke up, but do not remember anything about the dream except that in the dream I heard my cell phone ring and when I answered it, it was Ben's friend Ed and I could barely hear him. I don't leave my cell on at night, so I know I didn't really hear it ring. I woke up several times during the night. Once around 2:00 am I realized I still had left the TV on, so I turned it off and went back to sleep. Got up around 7:00 am and decided to go out for a walk before it got too hot. Headed down the street and ran into John Garcia who is a guy I used to work with at Lockheed. He lives around the corner from me. He was out for his morning walk too so we walked together. Did 2.5 miles. When I got back home, I had some cereal for breakfast and then headed over to the jeweler where I had taken Ben's wedding ring to have it soldered back together. If you remember, the hospital had to cut it off his finger when his hands started to bloat. They guy did a pretty good job and I am now wearing the ring on a gold chain around my neck. Went over to the Dollar Tree store to pick up a few items then headed for home. Most of the rest of the day, I just sat on the sofa and sent emails, got on Facebook or watched TV. Got too hot to go outside again. Had lunch, watched more TV. Now I'm trying to decide what I want for dinner. It's hard to fix meals just for one when you are used to doing it for two.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday Update For Kay

Today was pretty uneventful. It's been one week today that Ben passed away. I got out of bed this morning and had breakfast. Had to call AT&T again because I had called last Monday to have Ben's name taken off of our home phone account and change it into my name. They cannot just "change" it. They have to cancel his account and then open a new one in my name. I tried to get online to check to make sure that everything had been taken care of but found that Ben's name was still showing and when I tried to set up a new online account so in my name so I can pay the bills online, I found it would not let me do it, so I called them again. They told me that it takes about 3 days for the entire process t be done, so told me to try again on Friday to set up my online account. It was too hot today to go outside to walk or anything else. When Ben was alive and at work 3 days a week, I didn't mind staying in the house doing "nothing". I'd sit on the computer or watch TV, but today, I was totally bored doing that. This was the first time in the 5 years I've been retired that I ever felt bored. I talked to Linda on the phone for awhile. Got a call from Moon who was my social worker at All Saints. She had just found out about Ben's passing. I cried a little as I spoke with her. I made lunch and just vegged all day on the sofa. Chatted with Ben's brother-in-law Rich for awhile on Facebook chat. He told me that Ben's sister Donna is not accepting Ben's death very well. I knew she wasn't. I played a few online games. I hope this is NOT what my life turns out to be now. I am thinking about checking out some places to volunteer, but I'm not quite ready to actually do that yet. I'm still thinking about getting a dog, but that's another thing I'm not quite ready to do just yet. Now I'm still sitting on the sofa and I'm feeling like I'm about to fall asleep.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What Kay Did Today

Slept about 6 or 7 hours last night. Got an email from my doctor today. He said he put in a prescription for some Ambien for me to pick up if I wanted, but I'm not going to pick it up because I've heard such bad things about it plus he told me that it would probably knock me out more than the Ativan plus it is very addictive. He also told me that if I did not want to take Ambien for me to get some OTC Benadryl 20-25mg which is what several of my online friends had already suggested. I was going to pick some up today, but didn't get around to doing it, so maybe tomorrow. Linda came by at 9:15 am and we went over to the senior center for my first Grief Support Group. A friend from work, DeDee Parenteau met us there. She lost her husband 2 1/2 years ago and she is still grieving. She's been going to another grief support group but wanted to try the one I was starting. We both found it very interesting. After the group the 3 of us went over to Round Table Pizza for their pizza and salad buffet. We sat there for about 2 hours just talking about everything. DeDee and I discussed her husband Don and we talked about Ben. It was nice to be able to talk openly with some who understands what I'm going through. DeDee refers to it as "someone who 'gets it'" which I find a perfect way to say it. After lunch, Linda and I went over to the Social Security Office. I had to have them fax a copy of my marriage license to Salinas, CA to the guy who is handling me case for getting my widow's benefits from Ben's social security account. Then we went over to the mall. I was looking for some nice boxes for some of Ben's ashes. Ben's brother Lanny and sister Donna want some of Ben's ashes, so I wanted to find something nice to put them in. Plus I want to also keep a little more than what I will have in the cremation locket I bought. We went to a store call "Things Remembered". They had these really nice silver plated boxes that are lined with felt that will hold maybe 2 to 3 tablespoons of ashes. They have a nice "clasp" on them so it won't come open very easily. I could have had them engraved, but I really didn't know what to put on them, but if any of us want them engraved later, I was told that we could bring them to the store and they will do it then. It's like $15 for the first 5 words. Then we went over to the Sees Candy Store. As I had mentioned on Facebook, Ben had bought 3 discount coupons from Costco towards 3 lbs of Sees Chocolate Candy. He had only used 1 of the coupons, so I found the other 2 coupons the other day and thought I'd better use at least 1 of them right now, so we did that. Got home just before 4:30 pm, so had a really long day. So now I'm home starting to feel lonely again. When I'm out with other people like I as today, I feel pretty good, but once I'm back home and alone, I really start missing my "Sweetums" again.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Calls From Doctors

I think I mentioned that Dr. Manek had come by to say goodbye to Ben on the last day. Well the other evening I got a call from Dr. Khodadadi who was Ben's ophthalmologist telling me how sorry he was to hear that Ben had passed away and that there were certain patients that he remembered and Ben was one of them. He said that even with all the eye problems Ben had, Ben never complained and was always cracking jokes and was very friendly. Today I got a call from Dr. Shantha. You all remember that she was the head doctor at All Saints. She too said that she really liked Ben and told me how sorry she was that he didn't make it. She said she was looking forward to having him back at All Saints and rehabbing him. She too said that he had a great sense of humor.

Kay's Monday

Didn't sleep as well last night as I did the night before, but still got maybe 6 hours. I had some weird dreams, but can't really remember much about them. Ben was in one of them, but I could not see him all that well. I've been told that when you dream about your deceased loved one that they had come to visit you. Got up and headed over to the grocery store to pick up a few things. Don't buy much to eat any more. Ben and I used to make a month trek to the nearest Winco Foods Store and stock up for a month on non-perishables. He loved our grocery shopping day each month. When I got home, I decided to call Social Security and see if I could apply for the Widow's Benefit from Ben's account. I did most of it on the phone and it was very easy and the people I spoke with were all very nice. The only thing I have to do it take the original copy of our marriage license over to our local SS office so they can fax it to the guy in Salinas, CA who is handling my request. I'm actually going to get about $200 more per month on Ben's account than I thought. It's more than he was getting when he was working part time. They told me the first check will come in mid-July. I will also get a one-time lump sum of $255 which is what the call a "burial fund". Maybe back in the 1940's when Social Security was created $255 would pay for a burial, but sure won't cut it today. But anything will help. At the end of the year, I will apply for my own Social Security benefits because mine is several hundred dollars more than Ben's is. After taking care of that phone call, I headed over to Don Cuco's Mexican Restaurant just up the street from my home to meet with my friends Judy Holdt, Judy Arbogast and Sandi Owens. We had a very nice lunch and they let me talk about Ben as much as I wanted too. I find that it really helps to talk about him. WE were there for about 2 hours. When I got home, I decided to call AT&T to have Ben's name taken off of our home phone account and have mine put on it as the sole customer. Also called our insurance agent who handles our homeowner's insurance, earthquake insurance and car insurance to find out what I needed for them. They said I need to wait for a copy of the death certificate and then make an appointment to come over to their office to take Ben off and put me as the insured. Before he was the insured and I was an addition person on the policy. So slowly but surely I am getting some of the things done and out of the way. I have an appointment with my attorney on July 12th to discuss my estate plan, agents, wishes, etc. I will also find out at that time what they can help me with on getting Ben's name off of things like our house, our vehicles, our bank accounts, our investments, property taxes, etc. So I'm back home alone, on the computer with my many online friends and family keeping me company. I have the TV on for "background support". It is getting warm here in SoCal today. It's about 95° right now. I was hoping that we'd have a cool summer. I'm kind of glad that Ben will not have to face another hot summer outside delivering auto parts. He could not tolerate the heat very well and the older I get, neither can I.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday With Kay

Well today has not been very eventful. I've only cried once or twice. Finally got some sleep last night. I took a sleep aid pill that I bought at Wal-Mart awhile back and it seemed to help. Maybe because I also had to take a Tylenol at the same time because I also had a headache. Maybe the combination of the two put me to sleep. I went to bed around 9:30 pm and went to sleep pretty quick. Woke up a couple of times, but went right back to sleep. Woke up around 6:00 am but didn't get out of bed until 7:00 am to take my blood pressure meds. Decided to go back to bed and get on the computer, but then the stupid cable went out. Lost my TV and my Internet. Whenever that happens, I feel like I'm totally disconnected from the rest of the world. Talk about making me feel even more alone. Got up and put my sheets and towels in the washing machine. When they finished washing, I put them in the dryer and went out for a walk in the June Gloom. I did 1.5 miles. After I got home, I jumped in the 4Runner and drove over to the post office. When I got back home, I remembered I had not stopped to by a lotto ticket for Wednesday night. I've been trying to decide if I want to continue playing the lotto since Ben's gone. That was his thing, not really mine. But I'm leaning toward continuing to play because I know that he would want me to, so I went and bought a ticket. Came home and found the cable was back on….thank goodness. Took the sheets and towels out of the dryer and cried while remaking the bed and folding the towels because Ben always helped me do that on Sundays. Made lunch and have been on the computer and watching TV now for several hours. Right now I'm watching the movie "Phenomenon" starring John Travolta and Kyra Sedgwick. I've always liked this movie and have not seen it for several years. I've been watching some birds outside my sliding doors on the patio. I need to get more birdseed for them. I ran out while Ben was in the hospital. Yesterday I finally filled my hummingbird feeder after 2 months and put some water in the birdbath.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sad Saturday

Not having a good day. Last night I could not get to sleep. It's like my adrenaline is working overtime. I think I finally fell asleep around 2:00 am, but then I woke up around 5:15 am and tried to go back to sleep, but that didn't happen. I finally got up around 7:15 am and started to get dressed. As I was making the bed, I thought of how Ben used to help me make it and started to cry. That lasted for about 10 or 15 minutes. Had a sweet roll for breakfast. I don't really care for them, but Ben always bought them and so I decided I'd better eat them up. Took Ben's wedding ring (which is in 2 pieces since the hospital cut it off of his finger) over to a jeweler to have it soldered back together so I can wear it on a gold chain around my neck. There are times (like when I'm hiking) that I won't want to wear the cremation locket for fear of losing it, so I want the ring so I can wear it all the time. It will be ready for me to pick up on Thursday. Cam back home and decided to take Ben's sunglasses that he had left on the kitchen counter and put them in a drawer. I started crying. Got over that. Decided to empty out the bag that I took with me every day to the hospital that I carried his razor, his TV glasses, his toothbrush, his comb, etc. in. I started crying. Got over that. Made lunch. Wasn't really hungry but forced it down anyway. Had a salad and a tuna cake, a banana and some iced tea. I had to mail some of the flyers for Ben's memorial so I headed over to the post office to do that. I don't know how I got there and back home because I was in a daze the entire time. Balanced my checkbook, could not figure out a $3 error for about an hour. Remembered how Ben would always help me when that happened. He was so good at math. Cried again. Went outside and cut some of the dead stems from my gladiolas. Filled my bird feeder (made a mental note to buy more birdseed). Filled the birdbath and the hummingbird feeder. Came back into the house and here I am on the computer again. I feel somewhat better when I'm on the computer because I have so many wonderful online friends who are helping me get through this awful time in my life and if don't feel quite as alone when I'm online. It was "June Gloom" again this morning, but now the sun is out and it's 80°. Sure has been a long day, and it's only 3:00 pm.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Update For ME

Today my brother Keith and I went to what I thought was going to be my last visit to my Caregivers Support Group at the senior center. However, many of the members asked me to continue coming because they said I may be able to help them when the time comes that they lose the loved one that they are caring for right now. I felt "loved" by that and decide I will continue to go. It will give me something to occupy my time and maybe be of some support for my new friends there. So Tuesday I will go to my first Grief Support Group and make some other new friends. At least this will give me something to do two day out of my lonely week. After the meeting, we stopped by the Verizon store so I could remove Ben's cell phone line from my account. The girl there was very nice and helped me to change my account from the Nationwide Family Share Account a Nationwide Individual Account. She was able to help me save $30 a month on my cell phone bill which is good. I'm finding a few ways to save some money now since Ben is no longer here with his part-time job income and I am no longer receiving his State Disability money. I'll also save some money when I take him off of my health care plan. Cannot do that until I get the death certificates but that will cut my monthly premiums by about half. Keith and I stopped by Sam's Club to get some lunch at their deli counter and saw Linda as she was working today. Told her to let me know if she wanted to go for a walk later when she gets off work. When we got home, Keith had to leave, which was a little hard for me because this is now the first time that I have been totally alone since Ben died. I was also able to remove Ben from our Joint Accounts with ING online. That was an easy one because I was the one who added him and they make it very easy to remove a joint owner. Once I get copies of the death certificate, I will make an appointment with my attorney to have her help me start removing his name from the "BIG" things like the house, the vehicles, etc. I should be able to take care of his credit cards. We had a lot of credit cards that each of us had gotten before we were married. He had his accounts and I had mine, so we never added each other to them. The ones that he had just in his name should be easy to close. The accounts that we had together, I will just have his name removed. Still working on the plans for his memorial. I think it will go smoothly.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Video

For those of you who requested that I make a video from photos of Ben and me together through the years, here it is.

Thursday "ME" Update

So many people came back to me with so many nice emails about me sending out the update on "ME" yesterday. Many have asked me to continue it for awhile so that they know how I am doing. So far so good, except for the crying that just comes over me at any time and at any place. This morning my brother Keith and I went down to the mortuary. It is located right across the street from the San Fernando Mission. We met with Heidi. She was very sweet. She went over the cremation arrangements with me. Keith helped me pick out a sterling silver heart-shaped cremation locket. I would have like to go gold, but it was twice the price of the silver and Ben would have told me "don't spend so much money!" I didn't buy a chain for it from them because the chains did not look very sturdy. I want to get a chain that won't break as easily so I'll go to a jeweler here in town once I get the locket and pick out a chain. Ben was still at the hospital morgue so they could not give me a lock of his hair yet, but Heidi said they will have it for me when I come by to pick up the ashes. After we left, I called Ben's brother and texted Ben's sister to tell them that the cremation will take place on Friday June 24th and it's a 1 1/2 day process. I think a lot of the mortuaries use the same crematory so they have to take the next available space. They told me that I should be able to pick up his ashes around June 27th or 28th. Ben's sister told me that she would also like to have a lock of Ben's hair, so I called Heidi back and she told me she would make sure she got two locks. While at the mortuary, Keith mentioned that we would need a guest book for the memorial. We looked at the ones they had, but they were very expensive. When we got home, we went to the Hallmark Store and found a really nice one for $20. It is blue which is Ben's favorite color. Now I need Linda to help me find some nice little metal or porcelain containers to save some of Ben's ashes in. I want one for me, one for Ben's sister Donna and his brother Lanny also requested that he get some of the ashes. So I accomplished one major unpleasant thing today. Keith and I went out to lunch at Der Weinerschnitzle. When we got home I called Citibank Credit Cards because I had a question about my account. I was able to have them take Ben off of my card at the same time and they also told me they would send me some forms to either take over the account on his credit card or I can have it closed if I want. We each had our own account. They were not joint accounts, but we were both authorized for each other's card. I also called State Disability to have that stopped. I had just gotten it renewed through October, so that was something that needed to get done. Two more things down and done. I still keep thinking that Ben is down at Kaiser in his bed wondering why I have not come to visit him. I wanted to thank everyone for telling me how much they enjoyed the video tribute I made for Ben on YouTube. I've had several people ask if I would make another one showing photos of Ben and me together through the years. I will try to work on that.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Tribute Video For Ben

Wednesday Update For ME!

Figured since so many of you have been checking up on me today that I would continue the updates for awhile, but the will be about me now. I called the hospital this morning to see what I needed to do about Ben's remains. They told me I did not have to come down unless I really wanted to and for me to call the mortuary and make an appointment with them to start the process. I got an appointment for tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 9:00 AM. I will sign the papers to have them pick Ben up from the hospital and for the cremation contract. I need to remember to ask them if they can give me a lock of Ben's hair for a keepsake. I'm also going to see about purchasing a cremation locket for myself. Keith (my brother) and I drove over to Ben's work and spoke with a few of his co-workers. They are all so sad about his passing. Some of them want to attend his memorial if they are not working that day. Linda came over and the three of us went out for a pizza lunch buffet. I am holding up pretty well, but now and then when we are talking, something will hit me just the wrong way and I'll well up in tears. I keep thinking that the people around me who do not know that I just lost my husband are wondering what in the hell is that woman crying about? But who cares! We started discussing plans for Ben's "Celebration of Life" Memorial. We started checking out some parks but most of them just didn't seem to feel right. We even considered an oak grove over in Placerita Canyon, but there seemed to be a lot of deer flies so we changed our minds on that. We ended up back at the community rec room here in Canyon View Estates where I live. Chris and Marcie (the ladies in the office) know me well, in fact, Chris lives across the street from me. We asked them about the rec room and they told me there would be no fee due to what I was using it for. We checked out the room. It is nice a big, air conditioned, has a full kitchen and a patio where we could set up a BBQ or two. We are penciled in for Saturday, July 23rd, but can change it if I have too. Hoping I won't have too though. The three of us have been discussing ideas for the memorial, about what we would do for food, about a time-line for the memorial, music, friends & family sharing memories and stories about Ben, etc. Linda is very good at planning these kinds of things, so she will be a great help to me with that. For you friends and family here in SoCal, I will send out an email invitation with all of the details when we get everything finalized so I hope you will SAVE THAT DATE! I received a call from my good friend Marilyn Forbes today. Marilyn and I go way back to before I met Ben. She invited me and Linda to come and stay a few days with her soon at her home in Palm Springs. My good friend Vicky Baskins, who also go way back with me, has also invited us to come and stay with her at her home in Temecula. Three other of my "Lockheed Sisters" want to get together for lunch on Monday if possible. This is such good therapy for me right now. Keith will be with me through Friday afternoon. I've been getting such wonderful emails and Facebook/Blogger/NOTH messages from my online friends. I want to thank all of you for your love and support. I love you all.

Dr. Manek

I have not mentioned to everyone that Dr. Manek, the doctor who finally advocated so hard to find out what Ben's problem was, came by Ben's room yesterday to say goodbye. He said he had heard that Ben's organs were failing. He said he felt so bad that the problem had not been found sooner and that Ben could have been saved. He was the only doctor there that really tried to help and even though he was able to finally find the problem, he was not able to do it in time. He was the ONLY doctor that had taken care of Ben that came by to see Ben before he passed. I just wish that some of the other doctors had been as intent on finding the real problem.

Ben Passed Away

Just got the call. Ben passed away at 1:07 AM this morning June 15, 2011.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011



Tuesday Update For Ben

Today I did the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my entire life. I gave my permission to take Ben off of the support medications. We left him on the respirator because we just could not bring ourselves to "pull the plug". He was still alive when we left the hospital, but his heart rate was very erratic and his blood pressure dropped dramatically. The doctors seemed to think that just taking him off the medications will cause him to slowly pass on. His sister, her husband and Ben's brother were there along with me and my brother. We had a social worker and the hospital chaplain with us and we prayed and cried while we gathered around his bed, all of us hugging. I hugged and kissed Ben and told him how much I loved him and what a wonderful husband he had been to me. I thanked him for the 31 years we spent together as a married couple plus the 6 years we were best friends before we were married. I told him it was alright now to stop fighting and he could now give up and go peacefully. Both his brother and sister really took it bad. They both had to leave his room. Keith (my brother) and I stayed awhile longer and I continued to hug and kiss Ben and tell him I loved him and how he will remain in my heart forever. I have cried so much today and I am crying as I type this. My social worker made some phone calls for me to some mortuaries and I decided to go with one that the hospital deals with a lot. The were the most inexpensive and I know for a fact that Ben would NOT want me to spend a lot of money because he always talked about what a rip-off funerals, etc. are. I won't have a funeral for him. In a few weeks I will plan a "celebration of his life". I plan to have him cremated and take eventually take them up to Ferndale, CA (his favorite place) and scatter them there. I will keep a little bit of the ashes for myself. My brother Keith is here with me and we are waiting to hear from the hospital. If we do not hear something tonight, we will go there again in the morning and sit with Ben. I want to thank everyone for all of the prayers and kind words.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Update For Ben

I don't know how to send this update. We were told by the doctors today that Ben is not going to survive as all of his organs have started to shut down. His kidneys are failing, his liver is failing, his intestines have already failed. His immune system is gone. His body cannot sustain a normal blood pressure without support drugs. They even said his mind is probably starting to go due to the other organs failing. We have no idea how long he has left. Linda was with me thank goodness when they gave me this news. I called Ben's brother Lanny and he came out right away. My brother Keith also came up to the hospital right away. Then I called Ben's best friend and he came up too. My brother is going to stay with me a few days and Ben's sister Donna is coming down from Las Vegas to see Ben. They should be in town tomorrow sometime. We were told by the dialysis specialist that doing dialysis would not make any difference at this point. It may even make him go faster because he is not stable unless he is on support medications and your body must be able to support the blood pressure on its own without support medications before they could even do the procedure. Eventually we will have them stop giving him the support drugs and he will eventually pass. I am totally numb.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Update For Ben

Not a good day. Ben was awake but very out of it. He told me he was cold even though he had 3 thermal blankets on him. I'm sure that's caused by his anemia. He didn't respond to me much after that. When I got there his vitals were…Heart Rate 96 (this was up from yesterday which is not good). Respiration 24 (also up from yesterday which is not good). Blood Pressure 106/51. Blood Level still 7.5 and as I said, this should be around 11 to 13. His temperature was near normal. They were waiting for a unit of blood to give him which came about an hour after I got there. His nurse Nida told me that his main problem right now is his kidneys. He's still not putting out much urine. His creatinine level is 5.5 milligrams but normal is 0.6 to 1.2 milligrams. His limbs, hands, feet and face looked swollen today from him holding water. Nida told me he is not bleeding from anywhere, but his blood level just does not seem to want to go up. He is not on any pain medications. Dr. Han (ICU doctor) came by to check on Ben. He told me they have called a dialysis doctor to evaluate Ben to see if they need to give him what they called "acute dialysis". From what I've read online acute kidney failure is usually reversible. Dr. Han is very concerned that Ben's stomach is still distended even after the last surgery. They just cannot seem to figure out what is causing this problem. Dr. Rupp (Surgeon) came by. She said that been "doesn't seem to be turning the bend". Didn't like hearing this. Both doctors said that his kidneys are their main concern right now. Ben's B/P kept dropping while I was there. He was not on the B/P supporting drugs. It got down to 66/37, so they ordered another unit of blood, which made two unit today so far. They also put him back on the B/P supporting drugs. These two things brought his B/P back up and they said that if it stayed up, they would take him off the drugs again because the drugs cause organ failure and do not make the kidney problem any better. Nida explained to me in detail what happens when they put a person on dialysis. She said Ben would not be in any pain if and when they do it. She said once they do it, they will continue to monitor his kidneys and blood levels to see if it needs to be repeated. He was so weak today and just starred off into space the entire time I was there. It was all I could do not to fall apart in front of him. I asked when the dialysis doctor would be there, but they didn't know. They even said it might not be until tomorrow, so I left at 1:00 PM and they told me that they would call if there were any changes, plus if the do decide to do dialysis, they will have to get my consent. When I left his vital were…Heart Rate 98, Respiration 32, Blood Pressure 105/53, Temperature 97.6°.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Update For Ben

Ben was awake when I come into his room and responsive to me and his nurse. His vitals were half good, half bad. His heart rate was 85 and his breathing was 19, but his blood pressure was 73/38 (but they had just repositioned him and that lowers it for a few minutes and usually comes right back up). His body temperature was only 94.6° which is "hypothermal". He is anemic so they were giving him another unit of blood while I was there. His blood level is 7.5 and it should be 11 to 13. He is no longer on the blood pressure raising medications. They really want his B/P to get normal on its own as much as possible because the meds are not really good for you. They can weaken your kidneys and Ben's kidneys are already not functioning as well as they should. To raise his body temperature, they put several thermal blankets on him and then put a full body heating pad on top of them. He kept pushing them off saying he was hot, but when they checked his temperature, it had only gotten up to 95.9° before I left. I think he didn't like the weight of them on his body. They put a rectal thermometer in him to monitor his temperature while they have him under the heating pad. Their goal is to get him up to 99.5°. His nurse Alana told me that his abdominal pressure is good even though I thought his belly looked a little bloated. She said he is in the "acceptable" range. She said he is still getting stool in his colostomy bag. The only problem they are having with the bag is that it doesn't want to stay adhered to his skin. Ben has always had a problem with any kind of adhesives irritating his skin and causing it to turn red. Because of the skin irritation, the adhesive on the bag won't stick to his skin. It keeps coming lose and then the bag leaks. He still is not getting much urine so his limbs, hands and feet are still bloated. They are giving him meds to try to make him pee more. Ben was actually more alert today than he was yesterday. He kept getting mad at me because he would pull the thermal blankets off and I'd put them right back on him, so he'd "silently" yell at me and give me dirty looks. I'd just laugh at him and tell him that it was good for him to get mad because maybe it would help his B/P go up plus it shows that he is having some kind of "feelings" and is reacting to them. They gave him an injection of Vitamin K to try to help his blood thicken up some. Around 12:30, Ben started to fall asleep so I decided to leave. I'd been there for 4 hours by that time. When I left his vitals were….heart rate 84, breathing 19, blood pressure 93/51.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Update For Ben

Ben was awake when I came in this morning, but not really very responsive. When I first came in, his blood pressure was 113/49, his heart rate was 93 and his breathing was 24. No fever today, temperature was 96°. I think it's a little low due to his low B/P. I thought his belly looked a little bigger today and to me it felt a little harder, but Nick (Ben's nurse) said that maybe it looked bigger to me due to all of the dressing on the incision plus the colostomy bag under Ben's gown. That could be because they did have a lot of dressing on the incision. Nick also said that they are constantly monitoring Ben's abdominal pressure and it has been staying within the range it should be. It looked like there was some blood in Ben's urine. I mentioned it to Nick and he said he's been noting that on the computer for the doctors. Ben didn't seem to be focusing today, he just kept staring off into space. He acted like he was trying to tell me something but I could not read his lips to know what it was. The are still giving him antibiotics. They were giving him a unit of blood just before I left and they are still trying to wean him off of the blood pressure meds that help raise his B/P. When I left at 12:30, they had just given him some more Ativan to calm him down some because he was a little agitated. I just hope it does not knock him out as much as it did the other day when he didn't wake up for over 24 hours. His vitals just before I left were B/P 113/58, H/R 93 and breathing 30.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday Update For Ben

Ben's eyes were open when I came into his room and he squeezed my hand when I took it. He was still a "little" out of it, but he was a little responsive today. When I got there, his blood pressure was 100/52, his heart rate was 100 and his breathing was 20. He had no fever. Last night they had taken him off of the B/P meds to raise his pressure, but they had to put him back on it. But again this morning after I got there, they took him off of it again. Some of the time, he would just stare off into space, but when I would ask him something, he would nod or "mouth" yes or no. He said he was not in any pain. Ben's limbs are still somewhat puffy. I asked Nick (his nurse) if he was urinating more than he was, and Nick said a little, but not that much. Our social worker Jennifer came in this morning as did Robin the hospital chaplain. Lanny (Ben's brother) came by around 11:00 AM. I was just so happy to see that he was awake this morning. I didn't sleep well because I was so worried about the fact that he had not come out of it when I called his nurse last night. Dr. Rupp (the surgeon) had told us that the first few days after surgery would be the most critical and Ben has seemed to make it through those first few days.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday Update For Ben

Ben was asleep when I came into his room this morning and he did not wake up in the 3 hours I was there. His nurse Lisa said that she had given him some Ativan yesterday evening and that it must have still been in his system because he is not urinating very much so his body is holding liquids and the Ativan would come out in his urine. I could not get him to even open his eyes. His heart rate was 96, his breathing was 22 and his blood pressure was 110/65. His arms, hands, legs and feet were still a little puffy, but as I've said, he is not urinating very much. His blood levels were down due to all of the fluids they are giving him due to his kidney malfunctioning, so they were giving him a unit of blood while I was there. His nurse Lisa told me that he did come back positive for MRSA but that it is inactive right now. It is in his nose. I was told he's probably had it for a long time, but they always test for it in ICU and that's when they discovered it. Because of this, anyone who goes into his room must wear a gown and rubber gloves. I picked up a booklet in the ICU called "Living with MRSA" and I've been reading up on it and researching it online. As long as it stays inactive, he should be ok. It's been around forever, but was not really discovered until the 1960's. It's very common in hospitals and a lot of nurses and doctors are even carries of it. My advocate (Lisa) from my attorney's office came by to see Ben today.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday Update For Ben

Linda and I got to Ben's room around 9:45 AM. He was awake and alert. You could tell he knew we were there and he was trying to communicate with us some. They told me that he was not on any pain meds and that he told them he does not have any pain, which is good. We noticed that he is off of a lot of the medications and fluids they had him on right after his surgery. His color was good. His vitals are improving every day. He kept trying to "mouth" things to me and some of it I could understand, but most of it I couldn't. The chaplain came in and prayed with us again. When his friend Ed showed up, Ben knew it was him and "mouthed" a greeting to him. When it got to be around 12:00 noon, I asked Ben if he was getting tired and he shook his head no, then I asked him if he wanted us to leave and let him rest and he mouthed "no", so we stayed another 15 minutes when the nurse came in and said she was going to empty his colostomy bag. I figured that was a good time for us to go. Today his numbers were:

Heart Rate = 100
Breathing = 30
Blood Pressure - 119/58
No Fever

We kept watching the monitor and sometimes his heart rate got down around 95 or 96. His breathing got down to 24 or 25. His blood pressure varied, but was still staying up pretty good. Saw the surgeon out in the hall when we were leaving, but she was busy with another doctor so did not get to speak with her. Ben seems to be improving every day. Hopefully he will be out of ICU and back up in DOU soon.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Update For Ben

Got to ICU at 9:40 AM. Ben was a little bit awake and I took his hand and told him I was there and he squeezed my fingers. He looked like he is starting to hold some fluids again…not in his belly but in his arms, hands, legs and feet. They are a little bloated. I'm sure this is because his kidneys are not functioning at 100% again. The are giving him drugs to try to make him pee more. This morning his B/P was strange. The top number was very good, but the bottom was very low. His nurse Steve told me that it is much better though. Ben's heart rate was running between 110 and 115, his breathing was running between 25 and 30. His belly does not appear to be bloated now. He had a very low grade fever of 99.3° which Steve called "borderline". The hospital chaplain Robin who was praying with Ben up in DOU came in and prayed over Ben this morning. Robin is really a nice guy. Our social worker Jennifer came in first thing too. She said we were the first on her list this morning. Someone shaved Ben's beard, but he's got a little "Hitler mustache" going on right now. Don't know why they did not shave that off. Steve said that Ben seemed to be gasping for air, so he wanted to let him sleep and try to calm him down some. He remembered that when Ben was in ICU before that I had asked them not to give him too much morphine, so instead Steve game Ben some Ativan. Ben went right to sleep and slept most of the time I was there. They are still lowering the dosage of the blood pressure drugs that help to raise his B/P because it keeps getting better. When I left at 12:30 PM, Ben's B/P was 123/57. His breathing was 23 to 26 (normal is in the mid to high teens). His heart rate was 112 to 115. So he is getting better each day.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Update For Ben

Got to ICU at hospital around 8:30 AM. Ben squeezed my hand when I asked him to let me know if he knew I was there. Then he went to sleep for a little while. His heart rate is still pretty fast but much better than yesterday after surgery. After surgery it was 135 and today it was around 118. His blood pressure is still low, but coming up slowly. His nurse Lisa told me his kidney function is down again. I'm sure that's because of all of liquids that left his body yesterday during surgery because the surgeon had told me he seemed a little dehydrated afterward, plus Lisa told me that the B/P lowering medications cause you to be dehydrated. She said that hopefully his kidney function will get better once he's off those meds. He had a slight fever (99.6°) and the ICU doctor had ordered some antibiotics for him. Lisa said that they drew some blood to check for any infections. They have a little monitor on him that checks his abdominal pressure for his colostomy bag. Lisa said the bag seems to be working pretty good, but I noticed that they are still draining some fluids from his stomach through the NG Tube also. They lessened the dosage for his Dopamine because they said his B/P was better. Ben was moving around a lot and trying to communicate. He let me know that he was having a lot of pain in his stomach, so I told the nurse and she gave him a shot of morphine. I know he and I do not like them to give him morphine, but right now, I know he needs it for the pain. Ben's sister Donna showed up a little after 1:00 PM with her daughter Beth and around 1:45 PM I left to come home. Donna was still there, so I don't know how long she stayed. All in all, I think he was doing pretty good for only being 24 hours after the surgery.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday (Surgery) Update For Ben

Ben's sister (Donna), niece (Beth) and I got to the hospital around 6:30 AM. We had to be there before 7:00 AM so I could sign the surgical consent papers. When we got there I asked Ben if they had told him he was going in for surgery today and he said no. I did not go into detail with him, but just told him that they were going to do the surgery to get rid of the blockage in his colon and he said "good". We sat with him until 8:00 AM when they took him downstairs to the OR. His sister and niece went to the waiting room and I went with Ben down to OR until they took him in and then I went out to the waiting room. Ben's brother showed up awhile later and my friend Judy Arbogast also showed up to wait with us. The surgery took about 2 hours. Dr. Rupp (surgeon) came in and she told us that Ben had Diverticular Disease. I already knew he had diverticulitus. I have researched this condition online. It is when there is inflammation of the diverticula. This causes erosion of the diverticular wall due to increased pressure in the gut. Dr. Rupp said that this condition causes Ben's colon and bladder to be pushed together causing a blockage in his intestines. She had to remove the last part of his lower intestines and attach a colostomy bag to him. Also, when they opened him up and removed all of the fluid that was in his belly, this cause his blood pressure to drop drastically so they had to stabilize him in Recovery before Lanny (Ben's brother) and I could go in to see him and before they could send him down to ICU to recover. She also told us that the next few days will be extremely critical for him, but she seemed cautiously optimistic. When we were allowed to go in and see him in recovery, his eyes were open and he was moving around. I took his hand and told him to squeeze my finger if he could hear me and he did. He also tried to talk to us a little and was able to "croak" a few words out. They moved him down to ICU around 2:15 PM. Donna and Beth had already left to attend Donna's grand-daughter's birthday party and Lanny left around 2:30 PM. It took them another 45 minutes to get Ben hooked up to everything in ICU and ready for me to come in and see him. I got in to see him just before 3:00 PM. He was still moving around and he looked at me when I came in. I told him that I was just checking on him before I left to go home because it had been an extremely long day for me and I had not gotten any sleep last night, so I needed to get home and rest. He croaked "Go Home" to me, so I kissed him, told him I loved him and he said "I love you too" and I left to come home.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ben's Surgery

I am very upset and feeling very alone right now. Dr. Rupp, the Kaiser surgeon called me and said that I had to decide if they should do the surgery on Ben for his blockage. She told me that they will have to do a colostomy or a diverted colostomy on him, which means he will have a colostomy bag. The surgeon told Ben's brother that she feel's Ben should survive the procedure, however, she said that the first few days of post-op will be the critical time. She said there is no guarantee that the surgery will help him, in fact she said there is a possibility that it could make him worse., but if he does not have it, he will remain as he is right now and that is no better because he's getting weaker each day. She told me the best scenario is that he is able to tolerate tube feeding and eventually be taken off the ventilator and IF he can swallow, he would eventually be able to eat solid foods, but she is skeptical about that. The worst scenario is that he would not make a turn around to get better and maybe even die. I feel we need to at least try the surgery because either way I feel he could die. She said if he makes it through the critical days and eventually makes it off the ventilator and can swallow, that one day they would be able to maybe re-attach the ends of the colon and take the colostomy bag away, but she said that it's a 50/50 chance that that could happen. I am so upset. I've been crying my eyes out, but we have scheduled the surgery for 8:00 AM tomorrow. I have to be at the hospital before 7:00 AM to sign the consent papers, which should be no problem because I know I will not sleep at all tonight. I am here at home alone and there is no one who can come to stay with me. My friend Linda is out of town for the weekend. Ben's sister is in town for her grand-daughter's birthday and I'm hoping that she will be able to come and stay with me tonight. Waiting for a call back from her. Please pray for my dear sweat Ben, that he will survive this surgery and the next few days and that he will one day be able to lead at least some kind of a semi-normal life. This is just killing me.

Friday Update For Ben

Ben seemed very weak today. He can talk, but you can tell he really feels bad. He asks me to give him a "barf bag" every day because he always feels nauseous. He lies there in bed holding it like a security blanket. He never uses it though. He gets more crabby each day, but I know it is because he does not feel good. He keeps telling me that he feels like he's going crazy and he does not know how much longer he can take this. I keep telling him that he will eventually get stronger and get well. The physical therapist came in but Ben did not want to work with her. She said he really looked tired and that she would try to come back later to work with him. She told me she did work with him yesterday. I finally spoke with Dr. Markarian (this week's rotation doctor) and he is nothing like Dr. Manek. I wish so much that we could have kept Dr. Manek. Dr. Markarian told me that the surgeon (Dr. Rupp) has to analyze the results of the procedure from yesterday and then evaluate Ben before they know what they are going to do. Dr. Markarian said he does not have the results back from yesterday yet. Meanwhile, Ben gets weaker in my opinion, even though his vitals are still very stable. He just seems to tired. Dr. Markarian told me that Dr. Rupp should be by to see Ben sometime today, but he had no idea what time that would be. I stayed until 1:30 PM and never saw her.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday Update For Ben

Ben was asleep and weak when I got to his room this morning. When he woke up, he asked me to find his nurse because he felt nauseous again. I told him that hopefully when the "fix" the blockage, his nausea with stop. Dr. Manek came in and said that they were going to do another sigmoidoscopy today to do a biopsy of whatever is causing the blockage, but he had no idea what time they were planning to do it. He said they will put Ben completely out for this procedure. He said that the biopsy will tell Dr. Rupp (the surgeon) what she needs to do. Around noon, Dr. Shantha came into Ben's room. She is still a "Kaiser Doctor" and comes by the hospital every now and then, but this was the first time I'd see her there. The first thing she said was "I told you there was a blockage". She told me that she was so glad that they finally found it and that they feel they can do something about it. She also told me that she still does not feel that his liver is as bad as they have been telling me. That was why she had wanted them to do a biopsy on the liver several weeks back. She said his liver may have a "slight" problem, but she feels that most of the problem is from whatever the blockage is. They don't know if it is a tumor, a polyp or even some scar tissue that is causing the blockage and this is why they are going to do a biopsy on it. Dr. Shantha said that after the surgery, Ben may have to be back on the ventilator because he is still very weak and she says she feels the hospital took him off of it too soon. She has always said, and still says that because of the size of his belly and the pressure on his diaphragm and lungs that breathing on his own is making him weaker and is very hard on him. But she told me that once they fix the belly problem and he gets back over to All Saints, she will get to work on getting him off the vent again and getting the physical therapy he needs to get back on his feet. Around 12:30 PM, Dr. Manek came back in and said that he still did not have a time for the procedure today, but that he would call me at home when the did it. He said he "might" know something from the biopsy today, but he's thinking that it may not be until tomorrow. He said Dr. Markarian will probably be with Ben tomorrow. I have never met this doctor. Ben wanted me to stay around while they did the procedure, but Dr. Manek told him that they still had no idea of what time it would be done and told Ben it was ok for me to go home. Ben slept most of the time I was there today, but he woke up around 12:45 PM and told me he wants me to try to get there first thing in the morning instead of going to my Caregivers Support Group over at the senior center because he wants me to find out what they found from the procedure, so I told him I'd skip my group this week and be there around 9:30 AM tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday Update For Ben

Normally what I'm about to say would be a bad thing and something we would not want but I am so happy to tell everyone…..


Ben opened his eyes and gave me a little wave when I came into his room this morning. Neelima (his nurse) said she was waiting for Radiology to send someone to take Ben downstairs to do a special type of enema. I'll refer to it as a "power washer enema" because she told me that it's like sticking a power washer up your colon and inserting liquids with special medications to try to remove any fecal blockage that might be there. I asked Ben if Dr. Manek had been in to tell him that because the sigmoidoscope would not go more than 10 cm into his colon that they were now really thinking there had to be some kind of blockage. Ben said that the doctor had told him. Ben was happy that I had returned his empty beer keg and gotten his $30 deposit back. Around 11:20 AM, they came and took Ben down to Radiology. He was gone for over an hour. When he came back, his brother Lanny had gotten there to see him. Lanny went out and found Dr. Manek to talk with him. The doctor said he would be in Ben's room in a few minutes to tell us what they found. When he got there, he told us that he had just looked at the images they took last night and this morning and that he could clearly see some kind of blockage in the lower intestines. He said that the intestines were dilated, then he saw a "pinched off" part and then another dilated part, so the pinched off part is where the blockage is. He said he was already on the phone with Dr. Rupp the surgeon and she was very surprised to hear that they had found something. So Dr. Manek is now working with her and the Dr. Zweiban (GI doctor) to decided exactly what they are going to do. We also found out that we will have Dr. Manek on Ben's case for one more day, so that helps. Dr. Manek is very optimistic and says that he is so glad that it is no longer a mystery as to why Ben stomach is still bloated. He told Lanny (Ben's brother) that Ben should be in the medical books for this because it is very unusual. Ben said "why didn't they start at that end in the first place?". They are probably going to do more procedures tomorrow to get more images to find exactly where the blockage is and they probably do surgery to go in and fix it. Dr. Manek said he does not think Ben should have a problem with surgery because he is now off of the ventilator and his vitals are excellent. Dr. Manek has truly been a God Send. If not for him being so aggressive, the other doctors would still be "waiting for Ben's body to heal itself" and he probably would have gotten worse and eventually die. THANK YOU GOD FOR DR. MANEK AND FOR HELPING HIM FIND THIS BLOCKAGE.