Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas 2015 and May A Happy and Healthy 2016 Be Heading Your Way.

This was a year of changes for our extended family, it was a scary and emotional roller coaster at times, but we are finding ourselves at the end of it with a lot to be thankful for.

First of all, as we have had so many of you asking about Mom
and Lance,                         

 let me update you on what has been happening with them this year.  Lance and Mom were living in Virginia with Brett and his wife, Emily. Mom’s dementia got really bad and she was hallucinating, and paranoid and unable to take care of basic hygiene. She tried to run away and got lost, so she has been in assisted living, not far from Brett and Emily’s home, for over a year. The first home really made her worse and messed with her meds, changing her from just insulin and blood pressure meds, to 27 different medicines a month later.  The home she is in now, she likes, but she fell in June and broke her hip and was in a hospital and rehab before getting to go “home.” She is weaker and needs a wheelchair and once when Brett went to talk to her and asked her if she was worried about Lance, she answered, “I’m worried about him, but I don’t know who he is. Did I meet him here?”
The reason Brett asked about Lance is that he has been really sick since mid August, and in the Hospital, in ICU and a Rehab Hospital again and again ever since September began.  He was nearly dead (not an exaggeration) before the Dr. decided to do emergency exploratory abdominal surgery starting at 10 PM. He came out of surgery around midnight, and they had found his bladder blocked and holding 800 ccs of urine when a normal adult male would be uncomfortable with 300 ccs. They cleaned out the infection and put in a drain, but that only began the journey.  He has kept getting sick when he leaves ICU and they reduce antibiotics.  He has had his gallbladder removed and had a bad case of staff infection in his lungs.  He still has need of the Rehab hospital, the staff infection in his lungs is gone, the gall bladder cured the need for the drain in his abdomen, but he still can't eat much beyond ice cream without vomiting and he still needs a catheter, so he still has an appointment for micro-biotic robot cameras to scan his abdomen in the end of December. He can walk, but has no stamina so needs a wheelchair when Brett takes him out. Three months now has been a huge financial drain on Brett's family. He'd be able to take mom out too, if he had a wheelchair Van, but of course that would be another big financial hit, so probably won't happen. Anyway, Lance sounded excited to be out of ICU, happy to talk and more energetic than I've heard in ages when he talked to Greg and me on Thanksgiving. Brett had sprung him from the rehab hospital to go eat Turkey with Mom at her Assisted Living Center.  Mom doesn’t really talk on the phone anymore, but Lance has a cell phone (540)-359-1413 and you can send cards and pictures and letters to them at the same address

  Lance Miller /PO box 865/ Middleburg, VA 20118

Then in October we had to face the death of the daycare grandma who had helped us raise our boys when they were toddlers. Nadine was a large part of who they became and of why we have a family of daycare cousins and their parents here in Crescent City. It was such a blessing to have had her so long.

So, now for news about the rest of us.  Greg and I have not changed as much as the other people in our families.  He is teaching again up in Brookings, OR. (year 10 I think.)  He only has choir this year, and with a local choir on Monday evenings is working with kids age 9 to High School.  He is also singing in the adult community Choir in Crescent City.  In February he flew a bunch of kids to Spokane for the All Northwest Choir Festival, while I went to Gold Beach for a writer’s conference.  I am still substitute teaching, and writing, and finished my sixth book this November which I hope to have edited and available by the beginning of February. This summer he tried his hand working with Special Ed. and taught a summer school class before we drove to Wyoming to visit his family.  Mimi and Harvey were both doing great, and had celebrated their 65th anniversary in June. All of Greg’s surviving siblings were there, but the only one from our children’s generation (The grandchildren) who made it, was our niece Remi, at age 15, just back from touring China with the Tucson Girls Choir.  Mimi and Harvey have three great-grandchildren, but none of them could be there either. We did manage to get to Laramie, and saw our nephew Colton there as well. 

Emerson and Lula’s daughter, Daisy turned 1 on April 28th, and we were able to spend a lot of time with her between April and September when she was living part time with Emerson and us, and part time with Lula. Now we are happy to say that Emerson and Lula are back together and Daisy is happy being with both parents, but selfishly, Greg and I miss having the little Miss Daisy here on a daily basis. She has totally stolen our hearts. Emerson and Lula both work as assistants in the School District where I sub, and they both had summer jobs as well.

Austin and Trisha seem happy and busy but we don’t ever see enough of them either.  It has been hard going from being Mom and Dad to being empty nesters for Greg and I. Still we are lucky that they live in the county here, so we do see them a couple times a month at least.  They have been keeping us in firewood, and have gone to dinner, or celebrated a holiday with us occasionally.  I am excited to see Trisha’s baby bump growing and to welcome our second grandchild in May of 2016.  Austin is still working with the crew he supervises at G & H outreach, a group of handicapped adults. He seems to enjoy the fact that a lot of their work is outside and active. They appear to be happy and that is really what parents want most of all I think.

So that is the news, and I hope next year is less newsy and more peaceful. Merry Christmas!



Dixie and Greg

 oh and PS. I did get my novel finished, at least the first draft, in the NaNoWriMo month of November. Yes!