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Friday, May 3, 2013

Depression Is The Loss Of Hope and A Moment Of Kindness Can Touch A Heart

I had said I wanted to write a blog honestly telling of this adventure of life as it progresses. I would have said the adventure with my books but it is more than that, just as the title of this blog is More Than Just A Story In A Book.

When I began to make the dream of being able to hold in my hands the books that I write it was only a dream. I knew nothing of so many things I would have to learn. At times I learned things the hard way, having tried things over and over before accomplishing what ever it was I was striving to do. After I got online, I was able to read and research so many things.

There is a world of people online. There are so many wonderful, helpful, encouraging and inspiring people. There are also people who would take advantage, misdirect or misinform or mislead you in many ways. The same is true of life and the world but with the internet the world may be only a click away.

I had heard so many warnings about so many dangerous things out in the world of computers. I have run across a few on the internet that are unpleasant, untruthful or in other ways to be avoided but the majority of people I have met have been fantastic.

I have had to take time off from the internet and many things in life. I am not physically strong and was unable to continue. More than that was the emotion toll the last few months had taken. I had no more words. The pain I felt was unending, the swelling dangerous with fluids so great I could hardly breathe. What was worse was the fact that there were those in the family that were counting on me as caregiver and the one to make life work. If I was all there was, then I felt we were all in trouble.

My daughter was helping all that she could and had been through a stressful time even before this latest round of challenges occurred. She is a single working mother who cares deeply for her son, family, and loves her job taking pride in doing the best that she can. She worked everyday and came here to help everyday after work. She ran and fetched what ever we needed. She worried and cared. What was all of this doing to her too? If only I could be stronger.

I wrote about the accident my husband suffered resulting in a fractured skull. He has still been unable to return to work but doing better slowly day by day. With that much swelling and bleeding in the brain we worried about permanent damage. I had read about such injuries before but that is so different than living it or watching someone you love live it. The changes in their personality can be frightening. Fearing for their very survival and knowing the future could be something you would not want to imagine are emotions I never want to repeat. There were so many things he could not do for himself. He has been there for me and I was determined to be there for him. It was not a few hours a day or here and there but 24 hours watching, waiting, lifting, doing any and everything to help.

There was an outpouring of love, prayers, support and encouragement here online. I told about when Albert fell and some of what was happening then in another blog. I will not repeat describing that part but add to it the information of what continued. When you get a phone call and your fathers voice says your mother is unconscious and I can not wake her. She is still breathing but the ambulance is on the way, it puts a feeling in your heart that is difficult to describe. This is during the same time my husband is in a condition so delicate we do not know one moment to the next what might happen to him and he is unable to not only do for himself but even think clearly. The pain in his head and back was almost unending.

If you think of health issues combining advanced age, diabetes, congestive heart failure, history of stokes, heart attacks and a few other things, hearing she is unconscious leaves you with the dreaded feeling wondering if this is the last time with your mother. I could not leave my husband but my father needed me with him as he waited, worried and was ever by mother's side. My mother would need to have her family around her when and if she woke. We need to know we are not alone. It helps at times even if there is nothing more that can be physically done to have a loving hand reach out and hold yours.

Every minute seemed like an eternity. Hours passed. She regained consciousness but I could get no answers of if they knew why it had happened or what to expect. It almost seems at times as if they have given up feeling this is nearing the end and nothing much more they can do. I could not believe when they sent her home. My parents told me they did not know why it had happened but she seemed to be stable so they were releasing her. I was frantic. How could they release her when they did not know what was causing it or if it would happen again?

That did not last long before it did happened again. I had always done all I could making sure they had everything they might need and their medications were used as directed but they are adults and demanded they have control of their own lives. A year and a half ago they informed me they were doing fine and my brother would be in charge if they needed anything. I have so many things already making life a challenge I was relieved he would finally step up and help.

She was not home 24 hours before it did happen again. She could have died so easily. My father was frantic needing a ride to the hospital to be by her side when the ambulance left headed to the hospital again. I could not drive him. I can not even begin to describe how critical things were here with Albert. He usually helped in any way he could. His health had gone down hill so badly he could barely walk himself. He was so weak he could only go 10 to 15 feet before he could go down. He has numerous blood clots they had been unable to dissolve the last time he was in the hospital, a heart condition and diabetes. He was going to try to walk to find someone who could take him. He also has mild to moderate Alzheimers.

I called everyone I knew trying to get help. We live out in the country and there is no calling a call a neighbor but most were gone to work. I finally reached one who immediately went to help and take him to the hospital.

This is just an example of the days I was unable to be online. It continued as she required over a week of care before she was again released. I could get no straight answers of what the problems were and feared my parents were trying to protect me by saying they did not know instead of something worse.

The day she was released my father was struggling so hard that the hospital had to get a wheel chair to get him down to the vehicle when she was released. He never gives up. He is the one who always took care of others and never even admitted he might be sick or in pain. You know something is terribly wrong. I could loose both of my parents and my husband.

We were still unsure if Albert was safely healing or might suffer additional problems especially since it had affected his emotional and thought processes. He became so angry blaming me for everything. I understood what was going on but that did not make it easier to live. He would scream in pain ranting that I needed to so something, demanding to eat and since he had lost his sense of taste he angrily refused it or threw it out saying I deliberately fixed crap with no flavor. He could not eat it and was no longer hungry. It did not take long before I was seeing a frightening sight of him dwindling away before my eyes. I was told I needed to get him to eat. His weight dropped to 126 pounds. It was heart breaking to see. I had seen pictures of people from concentration camps who appeared skeletal. Their joints sticking out and ribs clearly visible. My husband looked like those pictures. This was now the sight I saw with my husband.

My father's health was rapidly deteriorating. I had no idea if these were the last days for my mother or there was more that could be done. My daughter was exhausted running for the things we needed, to be with her grandparents and help any way that she could including running over to help in the late night, working full time, taking care of her son and all that life presented to her.

My little grandson would get off the school bus here looking for his Mamaw and Papaw but had become quiet with worry for his grandfather seeing someone who looked like him but was no longer the man he knew and loved. As much as I tried to explain and he tried to understand, he was too young to really understand what had happened and feared he had lost his best friend and grandfather. They are very close. I look after my grandson until his mother gets off work and when she got off work at this time she seemed to always have something for one of us to do or get before she could get home to him and they head to their own home.

I was trying my best to care for the sick and injured, cook, take care of things around the house and my little grandson and with my parents but knew I was loosing ground. I felt desperate and frantic. I could not accept that I would be unable to do what needed to be done. We had no choices. I had to …...

I thought if I just got tough and kept going I could do it. I had to do it. I had no choice. You might think depression would be an issue and it was but more evident was frantic, fear, and anxiety. There are limits.

When my father went down and ended up in the hospital, we found out they had not been taking their medications as they needed and his blood sugar was dangerously high. He has a place on his leg that makes me fear what it could become. I demanded they investigate looking for blood clots. When they found those problems it accounted for many of his problems and weakness but I was worried about the shortness of breathe. A blood clot had hit his lung and we did not know if he would survive. They did their best to break the clot and we hoped and prayed.

When each breathe rattled and seemed less effective, I knew I was in trouble. I used the breathing treatments and all I could do, but was feeling more and more as if it was my own life that was at risk. I have tried my best in life in many ways. I write about not giving up. I even titled the book I wrote about my own life I Will Not Give Up... Not Today... Life Is A Journey.

When the depression did hit, it was like a mountain fell on me. I could hardly breathe. I had chest pains so often I had to use the nitro repeatedly. My legs did not look like something attached to a human and even my hands and arms were so swelled. I was drowning in my own body. (I have and am on medication and was taking it) I could not go to the hospital. Who would be there for my husband and grandson?

It may sound crazy to say the words, thoughts, prayers and encouragement I saw here online made a difference in a situation such as we were living, but it did. If a bully can hurt then think about the reverse. Kind words and people who care can be almost a lifeline.

My mother was only out of the hospital one day before my father went down and we feared for his survival. He was admitted leaving the problems of finding ways to see that mother was taken care of at home and getting her there to visit with him. They are almost inseparable. You can see the bond between the two of them. Not being able to be together is torture for them both.

It has been two months since Albert fell and he is doing better. Both parents are out of the hospital. My parents have had to go to an assisted living place that is so beautiful and seems to be something that could not only make their lives safer but richer with others to visit, activities and so much more they have in addition to nutritional and quality meals you would find in a fine restaurant. My father is determined he does not want to stay and working to get his strength back.

As for me, I am doing better. It has been a long struggle. When I get fluids or upper respiratory problems, I take it very seriously. I also feel it as more than illness but a threat to my own existence. It is more than depressing. The feeling that you are slowly suffocating or drowning with each breathe a struggle working to live, is oppressive. There are no words that can really share it. Feeling it is so different than understanding it. There are times I worry the cancer will return too. I wonder from time to time if I will have a heart attack that ends it all. Just yesterday my blood pressure hit levels that are totally unacceptable at 207/110. Yes I am on medication and not neglected medically but I am trying my best.

I had a little talk with my best friend. I said a little prayer. I admitted I do not have the answers in life. I really do not know what to do. I surely do not know how to do it. I could not go on. There are some other issues but too many to name causing increased tension or upset in additions to the biggies here. I don't know the number of my days but feel so sick and sad and almost hopeless. I have felt so sick and tired. I do not mean tired as if a person needed a nap. I mean almost too tired to fight so hard to get well enough to go on. I do not know what to do, so I put it in the Lord's hands knowing even if I do not understand now that he can help me, lead me, lend me strength to do what I have to do if it is what he wants me to do. I put it in his hands.

Now this may sound crazy but right after that I had an intense pain in my left shoulder radiating down my left arm. The chest pains hit and I was shocked thinking I was having a heart attack right then. Maybe the answer is that the fight is over? I have nitro with me all the time and took it right away. In moments the pain in the chest faded and the arm too. With the nitro the blood pressure dropped quickly. I felt such a relief. It was more than the ease of the pain and discomfort or passing of what ever it was and the danger that could go with it. I have a feeling of peace. I have done and will do all that I can to help others. I will also try to take care of my self.

Instead of thoughts filled with worry and all of the problems going on, I could imagine the joy I have with my books. I thought back to the idea that each and everyone would be written and crafted to be the best stories I could make them, but more than that. I want every book to be so real others can relate to them and they will be remembered long after I am gone. They might help another when they are having problems or open eyes to problems in this world that often go ignored or overlooked. I want them to be stories a reader does not want to put down. I want readers to enjoy the books from cover to cover.

That brings me to the new novel Danny. That book is one I believe is so different and compelling. Even with all Albert was going through he pleaded I get it out in April. You may think he is just enthusiastic because he is my husband but he is also outspoken. If he did not believe in something he would say so, sometimes a little to directly, but truth is what helps if a person it trying to do something special. This meant as much to him as it does to me and I did get it out but there is no way I could be online to help let others know it even exists.

I posted what I could and that is when something so special happened and is still happening. Others have things they are working on and it is a busy world. I understand that but what I saw was people of heart reaching out and sharing the news for me. Tweets and retweets, posts on Facebook and dozens of other sites telling of Danny flowed across cyber space. It was not the selling of books but sharing a dream and a hand reached out helping someone who so desperately was trying to hold on and believe there was still hope.

I had listed the book at an introductory price during April for $2.99 but am extending it for a short time as I am hearing from those who not only got the book but have read it and found it touched them and did indeed seem to come to life. One woman told me that she could not read it at night as she found herself thinking someone needed to help the child. What would happen to him? She realized it is fiction but it seemed so real. I have heard from teachers who have struggled and worried about some of their own students and faced such difficulties trying to find a way to help. Hearing that this book is indeed finding its way to not only tell a story but touch those who hear and read it makes me finally rest and feel peace.

I am hearing from people about the other books too. I can not only dream it now but feel the dream myself.

How could I give up on life when these special caring people did not forget or give up on me? Depression is the loss of hope and hope and friendship and love flowed with every word, thought, prayer and post.

A prayer answered or coincidence? It may sound crazy to think as I prayed putting this life's problems in the Lord's hands I felt crushing pain and thought I was having a heart attack but the end results were immediately reducing dangerously high blood pressure and a feeling of peace, relief and hope. A little nitro can do amazing things and a little talk with the Lord can work miracles.

The kindness, thought, time and all done by so many online and in life will never be forgotten. Reaching out a hand of kindness can make a world of difference.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Linda, thank you for writing this post straight from the heart. It seems that sometimes life just keeps happening and all you can do is grit your teeth and try to meet with each day's demands. Reminds me of that old saying 'When going through hell, keep going.' Pleased you've finally come out on the other side and your parents are in a safe pleasant caring place. Sounds like you deserve a medal. Good luck with your writing and illustrations:)

    Julia Hughes x