Friday, May 27, 2016

My Brother Is One of Them....Northern California Vietnam Vets To Be Added To The ‘In Memory’ Program

Northern California Vietnam Vets To Be Added To The ‘In Memory’ Program: The Vietnam Veteran’s Wall in Washington, DC honors those who died from injuries sustained while serving in the Vietnam war. A different memorial honors veterans who died as a result of their service, if not directly from wounds.

Monday, November 16, 2015

It Started to Get Weird in May

One day I choose every year to either celebrate or ignore is my birthday.

In 2014, I had chosen to basically ignore it as my mother had recently been in hospice, but after a couple of months, she rallied and was “discharged”.  She really wasn’t any better, she was just “better enough” to be taken out of hospice.  For those of you just joining me, my mother was 86 at the time, with congestive heart failure, failure to thrive and had begun to exhibit signs of dementia.  She’d forget to feed herself or my brother (who has early onset Alzheimer’s), she refused to stop driving, and she started to get lost in places she was very familiar with.  My 63 year-old brother had early onset Alzheimer's.

I had taken two weeks off from work to make sure we could go back to status quo – me stopping by every day and them taking care of themselves.  My mother was still showing enough signs of being “all there” than not (little did I know).

At four o’clock in the afternoon of my uncelebrated birthday, I received a phone call.

Them:   “Do you know Andy Rush?”

Me:  “For 35 years.  I’m his on/off girlfriend.  Why?  Who is this?”

Andy had been in the hospital for a week because he had a really bad back condition.  It got to the point where he couldn’t walk, and was taken by ambulance to Cedars in Los Angeles.  Did I mention I live in Northern California?  Okay.  Anyway, I had spoken to him every night that week.

Them:  “I’m a (some word for “person who searches for relatives”) and we found this number in Andy’s things.  He’s unconscious.”

Me:  “What do you mean, unconscious?  He was there for his back!  What the hell?”

Them:  “The doctor will contact you in a few minutes”.

Me:  “Tell the doctor I’m heading to the airport right now and I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

I met Andy when I was 17.  I interviewed him for my high school paper.  Cheezy?  Yep.

Andy and me first photo

We were perfectly suited for each other, but he had a wandering eye.  Two years after we started dating, I found he’d been cheating on me.  We broke up.  We got back together after a while when I found he was still seeing her.  I was done.  We were still friendly, and for several years we carried on while he carried on.  I finally cut it off when I met someone else.  But he’d send cards and tapes – I’d ignore them.  But I missed him.  When my new boyfriend and I broke up, I wrote Andy a letter telling him everything he did that hurt me or pissed me off, and when he got it, he called.  

Andy and me 1979

We were on the phone for 8 hours, and a month later, I moved to Los Angeles.
Basically, that’s how it was for 35 years.  When I lived in L.A., we were never apart for long.  We just liked each other.  But he was still the same.  It’s hard to explain, but it worked for us.  


I threw some things into a suitcase and called my neighbor.  I asked her to take me to the airport, which she did, and to keep an eye on my mom and brother while I was gone.

Andy and I had spoken every night that week, several hours at a time.  The night before, he had asked me to come back when he got out of the hospital.  He was going to sell his house and he wanted me to pick out a house in Ventura.  He wanted us to be together. I agreed.

Andy Rush May 14-0026
I was at the gate having just got on the list for standby when I got the call.  It was the doctor.

“Are you in a place where you can sit down?”

“Just tell me.”

“Is anyone close to you with you?”

“Please, just tell me.  I’m at the gate waiting for the plane to board.”

“He’s not unconscious, he’s brain dead. I’m so sorry.”

As I fell to my knees, she explained that the nurses had gotten him up from his bed to start physical therapy for his back when Andy said “my chest hurts” and dropped to the floor.  It wasn’t a clot, it wasn’t his mitral valve, it was an “electrical” heart attack.

The odds of surviving a sudden death heart attack are very slim – a three minute window to restart the heart. They worked on Andy for 45 minutes.  Because they did everything, blood thinners to break clots, CPR that broke every bone in his chest, broken trachea, tubes from his head to his groin, his brain had hemorrhaged. On both sides.

I arrived at the hospital and when led to his room I barely recognized him.  And then I saw his hands.  I’d know them anywhere.  I told them to remove all of the equipment as there was no way he was going to recover.

For 21 hours, I sat with him, holding his hand for hours, playing our music and talking to him.  He took his last breath with his face in my hands.  He had turned 60 three months before.
andys hands 1

He had cheated on me again – by leaving before he should.

Friday, February 7, 2014

An Update

Hey ya'll...

Sorry I haven't done much but read your blogs, but I wanted to say thank you for the enjoyment you give me.

You see, my mother is now in hospice.  She has congestive heart failure and she's not doing well.  As you know, I have a brother with Alzheimer's, so it's been a challenge from the start.

Thankfully, we have a wonderful hospice nurse (the same one that led my father out of this world) and a lovely lady that makes my mom all sparkly clean three times a week.

I'm there every evening to make dinner, throw some laundry in, clean floors and chat up mom.  Clynt is doing the hard duty of just being there all day.  Thankfully,  with early-onset Alz, he forgets most of it!! 

Please know that your blogs bring needed joy in my life and that I think of you all every day.


Monday, October 28, 2013

It's the Little Things

Mom and dad are pretty psyched.

They just remodeled the kitchen and got all matchy-matchy on the appliances.

You see,  Frigidaire sold them on the idea of making the kitchen the "happy hub" of their home.  "Just start with one appliance" says Frigidaire, "then add..."

Soon with Helen and Bob, it became all consuming.  You see, they really wanted that hub where they could see each other at all times.  The "kitchen ideas" of "harmonizing" were just too hard to resist.

Now that they've fulfilled the dream of having all of their appliances match, they are going to take a class on how to actually use them together.  See, Bob is pouring an iced tea from the freezer, Helen is baking something (see counter) but is putting it in the dryer and COULD SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE THE BABY A TOY?  Nothing like a little "here are some toys, but we'll put you in this contraption so you can't reach any and we'll ignore you while you cry".

Bob and Helen enjoy their new appliances.  Just not each other.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Back By Some Sort of Popular Demand

Okay, I was feeling sorry for myself.
I'm back.
You may throw tomatoes.

What you are about to read is true.

Guys don't make passes at girls with fat asses.

Seriously, we mean it.

Or poochie tummies or thunder thighs.  Men prefer women to be delicate little creatures, with no heartiness to them at all.

You see, should you be able to mow the back 40, or tend the oxen while furring the rows, you will be completely and utterly unattractive to the male being.  Those kind of "women" work on farms and raise our food.  You do NOT want to be one of "those" kind of women.

And get rid of those glasses, for heaven's sake!  They don't make passes at girls that wear glasses either!

Men prefer that you stretch, bend or improve your bosom and your "leisure class bulges".  Because he wouldn't marry a woman without money either!  So make sure you have an ample dowry too.  What's that old saying - it's as easy to marry a rich girl than a poor one?  Yeah, he's looking for that.

They have this equipment at Pretty Body, and you KNOW you want to use it, because nothing says "small ass" like Toastmaster!

Honestly, you are there to be an ornament, nothing more.  You are a vessel for his entertainment, and that alone should be enough for you.

When you're lounging at home, make sure you have this on (but of course, not when he's anywhere around.

Why, you really shouldn't be doing anything other than pointing to a dress (DON'T speak, for goodness sake!) and making an affirmative motion with your face (must be pretty and slim) only, and let the hired help fetch that for you.

Being thin and beautiful is EVERYTHING.  


Now, doesn't it make you feel good to know that Pretty Body is now an empty, abandoned wig store?  I'll bet it does.

I'm off for a hot fudge sundae.  Any takers? 

Monday, October 7, 2013

I Wish

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Oh boy...

Mom had a small stroke last night.  Tonight will be her second (and final, hopefully) night in the hospital.

CAT scans, blood tests, MRI, urine tests...all point to a minor stroke.  No was almost like seizure.  She'd zone out, mix up words, be unable to form a sentence and then after about five minutes, it stopped.  She doesn't remember any of them.

I'm on my way back out to be with her.  Keep her in your thoughts, will ya?

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