Why the Quadrupling?

I looked at tickets to England. Economy = $868.
First class = $3, 240 or $4, 860. (Depending on how soon you go.)

So could I just buy two economy tickets, sit next to myself, and have the seat available for cheaper?

I still wouldn’t have the leg room. I guess that’s why. They actually have 3x the seat for the first class.

Affording It?

Really, how can my friends who live in an apt in Dallas, who are both divorced and not getting the money they were supposed to from their respective ex-spouses, who apparently sit around all day and golf and drink, buy a half million dollar house?

I would really like to know their secret.

Mother: Requiem

My mother died on Monday the 19th of July.

She had not moved at all since at least Saturday (17), when she squeezed my cousin’s hand.

On Wednesday, the 14th, she kissed my dad back. He had been kissing her on the cheek and forehead as he anxiously paced the whole house. That time he ducked for a kiss on her lips and she kissed him back.

On Tuesday, the 13th, we brought her home from the hospital with hospice.

What were her final minutes like?

My father was asleep in bed. All four of us kids were around her. She had been stopping breathing and then starting again after a long interval.

Then she sang four notes, like a little kid sings, off key and long. She was already in heaven singing and her body hadn’t got the message to quit.

Chris told Mom that her singing was normally beautiful, but that not so much.

I think it woke up Dad.

He asked me to get him some banana pudding. I think the girls knew it would be any minute, so they told him Dorinda could get it. She did and she fixed it like he liked it. She left the room again.

Chris did “This little piggy” on her toes. One little piggy was going to heaven.

Then Mom quit breathing. Chris said, “It’s been two minutes.” Julie said, “Not yet.” Chris moved from her feet to her head. “Five minutes.” Julie nodded. Steph started crying. Chris did too. Chris looked for tissues.

Dad said, “What are you doing?”

Chris said he was crying. “I’m gonna miss my momma.”

Dad said, “But she’s still all right? She’s still alive.”

The girls and I looked at each other. One of us said, “I don’t think so, Dad.”

Her lips lost all their color.

Julie called the hospice. Dad cried. We all cried.

An hour later hospice arrived. Janet said she would set the time of death for when she saw Mother, over an hour after she died.

Then she called the police.

Six ended up coming in total.

My mother died.

While I know it was good for her, it has been a week and I miss her. I cry at the weirdest times.

Daddy is doing very well considering, but it is hard for him.

He was so sure he would go first.

Mom Stories

These are some stories I posted on fb as we were letting Mom go.

I was born because the doctor thought 15 year old women couldn’t get pregnant. When my mother came back on her 16th birthday, she was three months along. The doctor was stunned.

Mom visited an OB/GYN in Lubbock, but decided not to go that route because the guy walked into the office visit with a cowboy hat on chomping gum.

Mom went into labor after having called Dad home from Debate Club for dinner. He thought she was faking it, so he didn’t show up.

By the time he got there, she was far into her labor and her water had already broken. Because of that, he took her to the hospital with the cowboy doc. He wouldn’t admit Mom to the hospital because she was so young.

Mom was in the final stages of labor on the 45-mile drive to Plainview. Their Siamese cat Francoise assisted in the delivery. Whenever Mom was fixing to have a contraction, the cat would jump on Mother’s stomach.

I was born less than 5 minutes after the arrival at the hospital.

Mom got her first new dress in six years. She fixed her hair and put on make up. I was swimming in the apt pool with friends. I got into the deep end and panicked. Mom jumped off the balcony, ran to the pool, and jumped in to rescue me– before the grownups there even noticed. It was Mom and Dad’s 7th anniversary.

Mom taught the Bluebirds because I wanted to be one and there was no troop in Corpus. She made seats for us to go to games. We sold Camp Fire Girl candy. I loved the mints.

Mom planned a slumber party for my 11th birthday. We had fun crafts to do all night long. Yeah, Mom!

Mom used to substitute teach. If the kids were good she would bake them a cake.

When I had to go in the hospital with Micah, in Sept when he was due in Nov, Mom came from Jersey to Abilene. She watched Elijah and kept house for the whole month that I was in the hospital. When I came home and Lij wouldn’t come to me, she didn’t crow that he liked her better but said that he was just mad I had left and he would be over it soon.

Mother: Active v. Preactive Phases

This hospice site says that dying has two phases. Preactive usually is up to two weeks. Active is 3 days.

Preactive symptoms Mom has had:

increased periods of sleep, lethargy (5 weeks)

decreased intake of food and liquids (3 weeks)

inability to heal or recover from wounds or infections (2 weeks)

increased swelling (edema) of either the extremities or the entire body (2 weeks)

Active symptoms Mom has had:

inability to arouse patient at all (coma) or, ability to only arouse patient with great effort but patient quickly returns to severely unresponsive state (since Sunday, 7/11)

inability to swallow any fluids at all or not taking any food by mouth voluntarily (today, 7/17)

patient breathing through wide open mouth continuously and no longer can speak even if awake (since Sunday, 7/11)

blood pressure dropping dramatically from patient’s normal blood pressure range–more than a 20 or 30 point drop (at least since Thursday, 7/15)

marked decrease in urine output and darkening color of urine or very abnormal colors, such as red or brown (Today it is brown, like dark tea. 7/17)

patient’s body is held in rigid unchanging position (since at least last Thursday, July 8 )

About.com has different signals. They are similar in some ways. I am only noting the ones that I didn’t see on the last one.

One to two weeks prior

The blood pressure lowers. (Friday, 7/16)

There is increased perspiration. (Friday, 7/16)

Speaking decreases and eventually stops altogether. (This has been happening since ICU, at least. I wasn’t here before. So, July 1.)

Days to Hours
None of these match Mother.


Saturday, July 17– Mom didn’t open her eyes at all yesterday. Family coming in today (Janet and kids).

The boys came in. They are going to see Mom after lunch with R and I. We’re driving there from The Woodlands.

Janet, Shonda, the girls, and Baolo came in today to see Mom. She didn’t even open her eyes while they were there.

However, she did open them when they left. We all spent time talking to her; everyone was right there. Dad got up and came over to sit with her too.

Micah held her hand for an hour or so. Elijah stood next to her and held her foot for a while.

Dad thinks she will die tonight even. He wasn’t asleep when we left at 9ish.

The girls don’t think it will be today. Mom doesn’t match the symptoms for final hours.

Friday, July 16– Mom did not eat much today, maybe four bites of ice cream. She also didn’t drink water. Gail came by again today.

Thursday, July 15– Chris made it back today.

Mom ate a single serving container of ice cream and one and a half of jello.

I had to give her pain medicine tonight though. That’s bad. She hasn’t been in pain.

Wednesday, July 14– The nursing assistant came and gave mother a bath. Her name is Pam and the girls adored her. (She’s not the regular asst, but…)
The nurse came by.

Mother opened her eyes. I think she can see us, but the girls aren’t sure.

Dad would come in the bedroom, kiss Mom on the cheek, sit on the bed, and then bounce back up. He would then give Mom another kiss on the cheek and leave the room. He would walk out to the living room, turn around, and then come right back in. One time–just once–he kissed her on the lips as he was moving from room to room. She moved her lips back to kiss him.
I yelled, “Dad, Momma tried to kiss you back.”
Dad said, “She didn’t try. She did kiss me.”

They announced at church that mother is dying. Minister and about 10 others came by.

She ate some ice cream for me! A whole single serving dish. I was so thrilled!

Tuesday, July 13– Hospice is coming in to talk to us today.

She quit eating.

She’s going home with hospice today. It won’t be long.

Monday, July 12– Vickie is still here. Mom hasn’t talked today. She can follow you around with her eyes.

Mom ate pudding with her medicine in it at 5 p.m. She wouldn’t eat any of her supper.

I am afraid that was her last food intake ever.

I missed school today. I thought it started when it ended. I got a call from my chair about thirty minutes after class actually started. I said I was coming, didn’t class start in two hours? I explained that Mom was in the hospital and I hadn’t even thought to check the time. He was nice about it. Asked if they needed to find someone to teach my class, etc.

It meant I got to come to the hospital early. I was there from 11 till 1:30, when I left for my job interview.

Diagnosis: They officially told us today that it is brain cancer and that there is nothing they can do.

I knew that already. No one else had accepted it, though.

Sunday, July 11– Mom told dad hi this morning. But he didn’t hear her because he was talking to her. He went to sleep on the couch.

Chris and I were talking to her. He asked Mom if “he was worth talking to” and Mom nodded yes.

Then I kissed her good-bye and told her I loved her. She said, “I love you.” right out loud. Chris jumped. “Dad, did you hear that?” But he was asleep.

Those were the last words she said.

Fb post: Studying. Work tomorrow. Other things going on. Busy. I won’t even make it to the hospital until 4: 15 or so tomorrow.

Saturday, July 10– Mom told Chris, Stephanie, and Mark “hi.” She also told Reagan, “Hello.”

I told Mom that Vickie is coming. I asked her if she knew who Vickie is. She said, “Yes.” It took a lot of effort for her to say it.

I’ve been telling her a lot that I love her.

At 6 p.m. (I checked the time because I thought those might be her last words.) she said, “I love you.”

She said it again at 10 p.m.

And at 11 p.m. she said, “I love-”

She couldn’t finish it.

I was afraid to leave her, for fear that she would die alone. So I stayed the night.

I put her CPAP on her so she could breathe, because she looked like she was having trouble breathing.

Diagnosis: At about noon the infectious disease specialist came in and told us that it wasn’t infection.
The oncologist (Mother’s own oncologist) said he wasn’t coming to the hospital because it wasn’t an emergency (meaning she’s going to die). I am less than impressed.

Friday, July 9– Mom isn’t talking, but she’s still eating. Julie said she ate breakfast. Steph fed her some lunch. She ate supper for me, though not as much as I would like. She’s got to be getting bored with the food they will let her have.

Diagnosis: The contrast MRI found a lot of abnormality. The neurologist says it’s either infection or cancer.

Sunday, July 4– Mom got out of ICU today, but she’s not talking much. They’ve got her heart better regulated. But she’s set off the alarm four times in an hour and a half with her heart going too low.

Saturday, July 3– Someone called Vickie. She’s coming in tomorrow. Mother will be glad to see her.

Mom’s not really talking much in ICU.

Friday, July 2– Mom’s still in ICU. The nurses aren’t feeding her, but Steph came home from Austin and she is taking great care of Mom. They let her stay after the 30 minute limit. I am glad.

Dad’s coming up several times to see Mom. He is really worried.

I asked Mom if she knew who I was and she said, “Suanna.” It was a lot of effort for her, but I was so glad to know she knew me.

Steph banged her head on the bed because she’d been talking to Mom for a while and Mom hadn’t said anything to her. She just needed to ask something specific, I guess.

Thursday, July 1– I talked to Chris from New York. Mom seems to be doing all right.

When I arrived in Houston I had a phone message from Julie. Mom is in ICU. I’m going to take R to school and go to the hospital from there.

The ICU locks the doors and won’t let you in except every two hours. I stood at the door, because I was about 5 minutes late, and heard a nurse yelling at a patient. I am worried about Mom being in there.

My Momma said “I love you.”

Today at 6 p.m. my mother struggled to tell me, “I love you.” She succeeded.

She also said Hello to my niece and hello to my brother and sister and brother-in-law.

She is so much better this afternoon then she has been. She ate and chewed and swallowed.

She’s dying. She’s not going to be with us much longer. But today she told me she loved me.