Friday, November 4, 2011

Greetings from Fairbanks

Last night I remembered why I moved away from here 25 years ago. It's too cold!

For the first time in my entire life, I arrived at the airport here in Fairbanks and there was no one to greet me and give me a ride to their house. It used to be my mom, then my sister and her husband, then just my sister, then my crazy niece, then my almost depressed niece and her husband, and one.

My brother offered to pick me up, but he lives about 20 miles from the airport. Since I was going to my hotel and renting a car so I wouldn't be stranded for a week, I told him there really wasn't a need for him to meet me at the airport.

It was an odd experience to come down the stairs to baggage and not see a smiling face greeting me. I didn't cry, but there certainly was a feeling of loss.

I got my bag and picked up my keys for the rental car. Walking out to the car in freezing cold and dark at 5:30 p.m. was quite an experience. It was at the end of parking lot at the airport. It's a small airport but dragging my giant suitcase, backpack and my 20-pound purse through the ice and snow to get to it was a challenge.

The doors and trunk of the car were frozen shut. I found one door that I was able to force open and then crawled in and managed to get the driver's door open from the inside. I never got the trunk open, and put my bags in the back seat.

When I got in the car the light for the trunk said it was open. I guess technically it thought it was open but it was shut tight with ice. I finally forced it open with the snow scraper so I could shut it. I thought it was at least 20 degrees below zero, but it was actually 17 degrees above. This is exactly why I moved away from here. Alaska is beautiful and there's a lot to love about this state, but the cold weather is NOT one of them.

I drove to the hotel and my suite is really nice. They upgraded me for the same price as my regular room ($72 a night for my airline discount - can't beat it). I have a microwave and fridge, a little kitchen with a table and chairs, a sitting room with chairs, TV and a computer desk, and then the bedroom with it's own TV. It's not a separate room, but has a half wall. It's pretty nice, although it's a bit large and I keep misplacing things (like my phone!).

After getting settled into the hotel room last night, I went to see my sister. She was asleep so I sat next to her and held her hand. She woke up, saw me and started to cry. She cried for about ten minutes, even though I kept telling her it was okay. For some reason, I didn't cry, but just held her hand and tried to comfort her. She felt like ice and the room was freezing cold. She only had a sheet and a thin cotton blanket on her. The week I was here before she had a down comforter on her every day. There was another blanket in the room which I put on her and she pulled it up to her neck and said "ahhhh!". I know she must have been freezing.

She kept trying to tell me things but I couldn't understand a word of what she was saying. She tried spelling words but I still couldn't get it what she wanted to tell me. I visited for about an hour, but my migraine headache was starting and I was starving. I told her I was going back to my hotel to sleep and kissed her goodnight.

I talked to the nurses and they said she hadn't eaten a bite of anything for two days, Wednesday and Thursday. Since they put the morphine patch on her on Tuesday, all she's been doing is sleeping. They started the morphine patch at the insistence of my crazy niece, because she wants her to sleep all the time. I don't like this one bit and am going to do what I can to get my sister back on the morphine drops, on an as needed basis. My sister can't get better if she doesn't eat and is sleeping 24/7.

I have a huge list of things to do today, talk with my sister's doctor, speech and physical therapists, bring my sister a strawberry milkshake from the homemade ice cream place down the street, and some organic bananas (she used to eat one every day), pick up the book on how to recover from a stroke from Barnes and Noble (should have done that last week), check with the home care people that visited her yesterday (who are they?), look at the bed sore on her heel and check her backside for bed sores, buy her some reading glasses at 2.25. I asked both nieces to do that while I was gone and neither one did. We forgot to bring a pair of hers from home when we moved her, and the only ones the the hotel gift shop I bought her the last time I was here were 1.75.There's one other thing I have to check on but I can't talk about it yet. It's the real reason I'm here.

Number one thing right now is I'm heading down to the hotel gym to workout. I have to keep myself healthy and working out is really important now. Eating wasn't perfect last night, but not a total disaster. I started out tracking my food, but by last night I was too tired, too hungry and my head hurt too much to really even care about it. Today is a new day, and I'll do my best to track my food. At least I'll write down what I'm eating. I bought a few groceries last night so I can eat in my room, which will really help keep the calories in line.

Wish me luck today, it's going to be a rough one.


Diandra said...

Good luck!

Dawn said...

Good luck hope everything goes ok. Sounds like you have a handle on things. Way to go on taking care of yourself too that really is most important.

Lyn said...

Good luck and I am so glad you are taking care of yourself, too. Very wise. Sending comforting thoughts your way.

Dawn said... are going to be a graduate of the school of rough after this last few weeks and months...a professor of rough. I wish I could do something small to help, but know that I can't other than to "listen" here which is yours.
Take care...of you and yours x

Anna Down Under said...

Do you have access to a Tablet (e.g. an iPad or Samsung Tab) you could bring along? I have a Tab and if you turn it sideways the onscreen keyboard gets much larger - maybe she could press letters to communicate with you? My heart goes out to you both, and I'll keep your sister in my prayers.

Mer and Mo said...

Even though it sounds rough I have confidence that you will be able to handle it. You sound really strong in the last few posts, even with the cold and the struggle with the frozen car doors!!! Hang in there - hope you get some good answers and can continue to move forward with your sisters recovery!!!

Staying MOtivated MO

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing. That maybe an iPad might work with your sister. The key board would work if she can move one finger. I feel so sad for her and you that you've had to deal with the crazy daughter/niece. I hope your sister can make progress and start to get better. Hard to believe that neither daughter could get her a pair of glasses.....I bet your sister cried when she saw you, because she is feeling so alone and was glad you were there. Good luck with whatever you are going to take care of. Keeping all of you in thoughts and prayers.

prairieprincess said...

My heart goes out to you in this time. This is going to be hard and I pray that you have strength every day. Take care.

Ron said...

You are a wonderful sister!!!!

Carrieheff said...

Good luck! It is amazing to me that you would even think about your own health (tracking food etc) while dealing with all this stuff. You'll get through it!

Kyle Gershman said...

Absolutely heart wrenching...prayers for your continued strength.

othentiq said...

I wish you the best, i know in time things are gonna be alright.

I'm starting my water fast tomorrow and i'm detailing it all on my page: