Thursday, August 6, 2009

ESCAPE from Live Oak FL

We will have closing on this place in Live Oak on Aug 21 (HOORAY) and have closing for our new home in Valrico FL on Aug 26 (YIPPEEE!!!!!!). Bob has set up the movers to come on Friday, August 28 and deliver on Saturday, August 29. I believe that it is about the same time frame as when we originally moved into our house in Brandon in 1997. We have truly come back to where we can once again plant our feet and put in roots. NO MORE MOVING. Our new home will be at 1822 Citrus Orchard Way in Valrico FL.

God has brought us a long way over the past 12 years. He provided the butterfly at the new home on Friday and again on Saturday last weekend when we went "house hunting". That was my fleece for God to show us which home was the one He wanted us to have. Bob was always seeing a butterfly whenever he had a slight problem to overcome and he had seen a butterfly on the day of his dad's funeral at the gravesight. It was Bob's way of having his dad still be close and guiding him. So that was what I used as the test - God would have a butterfly flying around at the house He had chosen for us.

Now He will also guide us to the church that will become our new church family. It is so important to have that connection with fellow believers. During the good times and the bad times, God provides helping hands and prayer warriors to get us through everything. The joy that comes from allowing Him to direct me daily is beyond words and I know that my life would be so empty and hopeless without Him. I love my lord and savior, Jesus Christ with my whole being. I pray that all of our children will come to know and understand that the only thing that they really need is a relationship with Jesus. Only Jesus can bring us to God and salvation - nothing else in this world will do that.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


A lot has happened since the last post in August. We spent the holidays just enjoying our church family and visiting with friends around Live Oak. After Thanksgiving, Bob's sister Darlene went back north for good to her home in Indiana and his other sister Diane took over staying with his mother, Amanda. She was by this time on her oxygen 24/7 and still getting around her home fairly well. Diane would take her to her hair appointments and doctor appointments with the portable oxygen traveling with them. Amanda also suffered horribly with her rhuematoid arthritis in her hands and feet. She couldn't take anything much for the pain and really had to just keep on going regardless of the aches and discomfort. Her breathing treatments were helping some to clear out her lungs but eventually it just became too much for her.

Diane and her grandsons were staying with Amanda during the last two weeks of December into the new year. On Friday, Jan. 2, Diane called to say the Bob's mom was not doing well and that we should come to Sarasota as soon as we could get there. That call was at 4:30 p.m. and Bob had just got off work; I get off at 5. We threw things in the car with Cinnamon in tow and headed south to Sarasota. We stopped at Keith & Yolanda's on the way to drop Cinnamon off at the Alfie Hotel and continued on. When we got to Amanda's house about 10:30 p.m., it was really clear that she was failing pretty fast. Her breathing was very shallow and fast and her eyes were not focusing well. She was still responsive but very fidgety while sitting/sleeping in her recliner lift chair in the main living area. Since the house was already full of people staying there (Diane, Toni Lee & James & the two boys, mom, and now us) we decided the best place for us to go would be to a hotel just up the road from TriPar where mom lives. Bob called his brother, Bill and told him that he should get here as soon as he can - Bill was able to get a flight out and would then arrive on Saturday by 11 a.m.

The next morning, we went to the house to check on things and it seemed that mom had improved a little bit. She was able to drink a little of her coffee and eat a bit of bagel and was more responsive when we talked to her. We left to get Bill at the airport and when we got back to mom's she was asleep in her chair again. Bill was able to see right away that she was not good and that something needed to be done. Diane didn't want to call 911 or take her to the hospital - Mom didn't want to leave her house - she wanted to be at home. She did agree to start calling the doctors and the hospice people to see if someone would come to the house to evaluate her condition and to see what to do next. Everyone had been telling Diane that hospice needs to be called in but Diane didn't want to do that - mom wanted to stay at home. Finally, hospice agreed to have someone come out to the house Saturday afternoon to just see what they could do - that was a big answer to prayer at this point because mom was not getting any rest or comfort with all the chaos going on around her (people, kids, TV blaring, bird and activity right there in her main living space where she was trying to sleep/rest). Once the hospice nurse got there, she immediately saw that Amanda was in a lot of distress and needed help - at first stating that she could get medication to her from a pharmacy and that we could administer it every two hours to give her some relief - trying to go along with Diane and keeping Amanda in the house.

When Diane went outisde to take a smoke break, Bob, Bill and I all started talking with the hospice nurse to just see what this was going to be like. I made directed questions about the lack of rest and privacy happening and how agitated that Amanda was becoming and how she really couldnt' get any comfort or relief with what was already in the house. Could we get a hospital bed for her - not until Monday or Tuesday; could we really give her the care that she really needed to get her rest - not really but .... and then Bob and Bill agreed that mom should go to hospice and get some relief temporarily. The hospice nurse jomped on that - she knew that mom really could not stay in her home - mom was able to sign for the care and all the papers that went with that. The hospice nurse called for transport and within 2 hours, mom was transported to Tidewell Hospice Care Center. Diane agreed that it would be a temporary situation just long enough to get mom some comfort and relief for her breathing to stabilize and then we could bring her back home. Everyone else knew that probably would not happen but we all went along with what Diane was saying just to get mom out of the situation at home and into a more comfortable environment.

Tidewell Hospice in Sarasota was like going to a 5 star hotel - the room was absolutely gorgeous. Huge room and bathroom, couches, chairs, a screened lanai outside the room with french doors for access; the bed was a hospital bed that looked like a regular bed and the people were just so very accommodating for the enire family. Once they got Amanda into the room and the bed, they began giving her some morphine drops under her tongue to relieve the pain of her breathing. It helped some but not really enough. The hospice doctor was there within the hour and he looked her over from head to tow and then took Bob, Bill and Diane out to the other common room area - they also got Darlene on the phone so that all four kids were able to talk about what was happening. The doctor told them that in this hospice there is no magic equipment stashed around the corner to prolong anything and that they have limited medications that they are permitted to give to ease and comfort the transition from life to death. They were given a booklet to read that explained exactly the process for the end of life and what to expect and just what stages your body goes through - Amanda had been going through almost all of those stages by that time and once they all read about them, it was very clear that she would not be coming home from this location. A very hard reality but also one that was a lot more acceptable than watching her struggle and fidget and be in so much distress at home in her chair. Even Diane finally agreed that this is really the best place for her to be and soon lots of the relatives and friends that lived in Sarasota started to come out. By 10-11 p.m. Satuday evening, the doctor was able to get a IV put into mom's arm for some stronger morphine and medications to help her with the breathing and pain. Diane and Bill then stayed with her through the night and we went back to our hotel.

Sunday, Jan 4, we were back to the room by 10 a.m. and mom was asleep and not responsive to anything going on around her. Darlene was due to arrive that evening by 5:45 p.m. and the room started filling up with relatives (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.). The hospice nurses would come in and keep checking and you would really not even notice that they were even there - it was just so different that in a hospital room with all the noise and activity. Mom was sleeping so peacefully and was just so finally able to really rest - she didn't even struggle when they moved her to her side. Bob and I went to the airport to pick up Darlene while Bill and Diane stayed at the room with the others. While we were waiting for the plane to land, about 6 p.m. Bob got the call that his mother had passed away. It was just like when his dad died, we were going to the airport to get Bill when we got the call. It was hard to be at the airport and waiting for Darlene to come off the plane and then to tell her about her mother going before she got to see her. But at least Darlene and Bob won't have to remember her last moment - just the better times of their mother.

I know this is getting long - but it has been a struggle to just get this far. We were not surprised that Amanda passed away. Just surprised that she lasted this long after the passing of Bob's dad almost 4 years ago. Amanda lived a good long life. She was 82 years old and had 4 beautiful children - Bill, Diane, Darlene and Bob. No one could have loved her any more or any better than they did. They all took their time to care for her and her home. She no longer has to struggle with the simple things like bathing, eating, combing her hair, writing, dressing, walking and breathing. God has given her the ultimate healing and has given her a new body that is whole and completely free of pain and suffering. We will miss her but look forward to seeing her again in Heaven. It is not Good Bye - just so long for now.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Guess who's coming to our house?

WELP - Bob 's mom surprised us all and agreed to come to our our house while Darlene takes a much needed break from her care. We made the trip to Sarasota yesterday, 8/2, while Bill and Terry were there to visit with mom. On Friday, Darlene took mom to her hair appointment and on the way, mom asked Darlene,"When am I going to Bobby's?" which totally knocked Darlene for a loop. God was preparing mom for the news of Darlene getting away for a little while and had softened her reserve about leaving her comfort zone and heading to Live Oak. We will be picking her up next Sunday, 8/10 and bringing all her things here including the bird, Ricky. She will be with us for a full two weeks and then we will take her back to her home in Sarasota on Saturday, 8/23.

We can borrow a recliner from Steve & Marlyn (she is surprising Steve with a new swivel, rocker, recliner for his birthday on Tuesday, 8/5) and we can use the old one. It will be just the right size for mom and will be very easy for her to manuever since ours is a really big recliner and I have trouble getting it to move. We will also check about renting a wheelchair to take her into town some - she really gets worn out really fast now whenever she has to walk very much.

I know that God is preparing us for something and growing us with this visit. He is in control and has everything already worked out. Mom sleeps in a power lift chair and can't sleep in a bed - just too hard to breathe. She is on oxygen now 24/7 and has to have help getting dressed and bathed. She is praying now for God to take her home and is so ready to go and with this last visit with Bill and Terry, they all feel that it won't be too long. Her oxygen has a level setting up to 5 and she is on 3 now - and still struggles some. She is nothing but skin and bone, only weighing 96#. We told Darlene that we will need her primary doctors information and also her instructions (living will, DNR, etc.) just in case something happens while she is with us here.

Bob is going to talk to his boss to get half days during that time so he can be home with her in the afternoon. She will only be by herself for a few hours in the morning that way and we will have the family room arranged for her to be able to reach the phone, the TV remote, the bathroom, kitchen area and screened lanai (she still smokes a bit - one cigarette lasts her 3 days). Pray she doesn't blow up our house while we are gone. The cockatiel, Ricky, will stay in the family room on a table too - hopefully she won't let him out to poo all over everything in the mornings.

Like I said, God has it all in his control and hands and we just have to wait to see just what He has in store for us. This is going to be a real eye opening experience for all of us and hopefully we all come out of this still able to say that "GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME, ALL THE TIME, GOD IS GOOD".

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A lot can happen in one week

Well, God really does answer prayer - even ones that are only thought and not spoken. Tomorrow I will be starting my new job as a marketing assistant for Advent Christian Village. This came out of nowhere last week. Bob heard about the opening, mentioned it to me and had HR pull my resume' to give to the opening manager, Karen Thomas. Karen called me for an interview on Friday and yesterday I was in talking to the new CEO, Craig Carter, about the position. I was not looking for a job and this definitely was God telling me that there was a better solution than me going to Sarasota in August to take care of Bob's mother. Now she will be coming up here to stay with us while Darlene goes back home for a spell. We will pick her up and Darlene will the get her on her way back from her visit north. I guess God knew that I would not be able to handle that situation and steered me in another direction that would make more sense all around.

Of course, the sisters all think that I did this on purpose. I told Karen about the possibility that I would have to be gone to Sarasota for about a week and a half - and she was seriously concerned about that long time of being gone and being new to the job. Bob talked it out with Darlene and the new scenario developed so that if the job came to be, mom would be up here with us and Bob will take half days in the afternoon to be with her. Bottom line, a long term solution needs to happen since she cannot stay by herself and Darlene cannot be there indefinitely. She really needs to go to assisted living so that she can have the help that she needs to get dressed, bathe, and fix meals. Her RA is so bad in her hands that she cannot open things most of the time and cannot zip or button clothing. She is strong otherwise and can get around with her oxygen but just cannot really do everything for herself and needs the help. It is just plain crazy for Darlene to be there 24/7 for months on end. Another solution needs to come about with all four of the kids (Bill, Diane, Darlene and Bob) agreeing to a permanent location for their mother and then getting her to do it. Maybe with her coming up here, we can have her see what the Village is like and then get her to agree that assisted living isn't so bad after all. If she needs to sell her place for the expense of assisted living - so be it. It is for her care and health anyway. She only weighs 96 pounds soaking wet and if she gets sick with anything at all, that will probably be the final straw for her. Just pray that this whole thing gets taken care of in the long term.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fun 4 day weekend

We decided to go to Sarasota for Friday and Saturday to visit with Bob's mom and sister Darlene. Darlene has been the caregiver since April for his mother since her knee replacement surgery. She is healing very well but with the emphysema now and the rheumatoid arthritis, she just can't be alone. She needs oxygen 24/7 now and has portable tanks that she is supposed to take with her when she is out anywhere, but...... she is one subborn old woman and her pride gets in the way. She says that she wants to keep them for reserve in case the power goes out (which is almost never) and that she is fine to leave the house without the portable oxygen. Besides it only gives her about 2 hours on the portable. She gets so worn out without the oxygen helping her to breathe and the one in the house is set so low she is still struggling if she gets up and moves around much. She refuses to set it up higher so she gets a stronger concentration and tires herself out contstantly.

Darlene asked Bob if there was anyway that we could help take care of mom in August while she goes back up to Illinois to be with her hubby for about 10-14 days. Darlene is getting a car and driving to Diane's and then they will be going to the Knepp family reunion in Indiana and then Darlene will go on to her home in Illinois to be back with Joe for a break. She could either drop mom off at our house on her way to Diane's or we could stay at mom's house while she is gone and take care of her there. Well, since Bob is working and can't get that much time off, the only logical solution to this is for me to go to Sarasota and stay with Bob's mom. They all were so very thankful and kept saying that I was a saint and going on and on... well, I told them not to be so thankful just yet because mom hasn't survived Janet yet. It will be a real challenge to say the least to be the one who has to help out the family. The up side is that there is a pool and fitness area where she lives and I can go there everyday to get a break. No way could she survive coming up here and with no real hospital around - it would be just too dangerous for her to be here. So picture me taking care of an elderly, stubborn old woman who is a remote control hog and runs the TV constantly flipping channels to watch the gorey health programs, with a cockatiel bird that makes messes all over and crawls up your leg to get to your shoulder, who also refuses to really do what she is supposed to do to breathe better but has the stamina of a horse because of all the vitamins she is taking. This is going to be a real challenge for me and for his mother (she will not know that this is going to happen until about the day before Darlene goes to get the car). His mother works herself up into anxiety attacks and the longer she has to think about Darlene leaving, the more likely she will guilt Darlene into not going. Like I said, they better not be too greatful just yet - we all have to make it through August and see if there are any survivors to this reality challenge. (HA HA)

From Sarasota on Saturday afternoon, we headed back north and made a stop in Brandon to see where Keith and Yolanda moved. They had just moved from Live Oak on July 2 and everything was a T-total mess but they said to stop in. The neighbors were having a July 5 holiday party for the neighborhood and lots of people, cars and music welcomed us to the Smith's new home. They really loved it that we stopped in and brought Cinnamon with us. Cinnamon just had to go poo in Alfies new yard (she hadn't pottied since she left Live Oak on Friday, except to pee) and she made herself right at home. Their house has a natural fed pond behind them and all sorts of fish and ducks are there. It was so relaxing to sit out back and enjoy the view and to enjoy the neighborhood noise and to see where they are living now. We stayed for dinner and then they wanted us to spend the night so we did and it was just so nice to enjoy their hospitality and friendship. We all went swimming in their pool and just totally had a great time. We then left for Live Oak Sunday morning about 9:30 a.m. and headed back to our place. It started raining and it poured off and on about 3 times before we made it home by 2 p.m.

On Monday, July 7, we went to WILD ADVENTURES theme park in Valdosta GA. It was a really small park with a water area called Splash Island. We spent most of the time there and really enjoyed the tubing lazy river attraction and the wave pool. We even went down the water slide in a double tube that flipped us over when we came to the bottom. Just another thing that I can flip. It was tons of fun and we had a blast.

Today, Tuesday - I will be heading to the vet's to pick up the dogs and do the laundry and Bob has gone back to work. We are just praying that the house sells soon and that we can get moved back to the Brandon area to be where we really want to be.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Disappointed in Live Oak

Well, the auction has come and gone. It was a major disappointment to say the least. The auctioneer, John Hill, was very surprised that none of his major property investors didn't even show up. There were only about 3 bidders in the room and the rest were the ones like ourselves who were selling their property. Out of 32 lots only 5 received any bids on them. Most of them didn't get any bids at all - which is so very discouraging to everyone involved. The real estate market is just saturated with homes and no one is buying unless they have to. It is so very scary that our friends, Keith & Yolanda, went ahead and bought a home in Brandon - in fact, their closing is today - without the sale of their home in Live Oak. I am so glad we are not in that position with two mortgages and having to sell in a market that is just stagnant. So many of the realtors are saying that the worse is yet to come and that this hasn't hit bottom yet. I don't know how it could get any worse. Homes have been up for sale here for mostly a year or more and no one looking at them or even making offers. Really, really depressing.

But through all of this God still is in control and He is going to surprise us even yet - it all in His timing and not ours. We are here for a reason and it does my heart and soul good to know that all my worries and cares are known to Him and that He cares about all of it. This morning Bob caught us up on our devotional (we didn't read the ones for Saturday or Sunday) and when he read the title of the Saturday devotional, we knew that God was telling us that HE IS IN CONTROL OF THIS WHOLE THING, not us. The title for June 14 in Max Lucado's devotional "Grace for the Moment" was The Cure for Disappointment - how appropriate and we got a bit of a tickle out of how God sends messages to us. We are trusting in Him and will just have to wait for the right time and in the meantime, we will continue doing whatever He wants us to do.

Wednesday, I will be taking Marlyn into Lake City for some shopping, lunch and then her eye doctor appointment. It is always a joy to be with her and to just be able to help her with the little things that she needs. The trips to the stores and doctors are always fun and tiring but we so enjoy each other's company and catch up on all the news that is happening. Lots of good fellowship and friendship and a great way to be needed.

So, Bob & I are pulling up our bootstraps and trying to get through this set back and we both know that we are here for some purpose and time and only God knows how the story turns out.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Today is my first born's birthday. Sarah Christine Bruckelmeyer entered into this world on June 7, 1974 at 4:51 p.m. I remember it like it was yesterday. She had already given us a practice run on Memorial weekend, but decided that she wasn't ready yet and wanted to hang around for a little bit longer.
On the following Wednesday at the doctor's visit, it was decided that we would go to University Hospital on Friday (June 7) early in the morning, be there at 6 a.m., and see about being induced for labor so that she could be born. Back in those days, ultrasound was a very new technology and wasn't used like it is today - so we had no idea what we were going to have. Dr. Lewis always said that the heartbeat was for a boy so we had thought that the baby was a boy and besides that, "Bruckelmeyer's always have boys first" quoting Chuck's father, Jay. We never ever came up with a boy's name though, and even had the girls name picked out months in advance. Needless to say, when little Sarah was delivered - everyone was surprised but also very excited and happy.
So off we go to Ohio State University Hospital (how appropriate - her alma matter in 1996) and the doctor's determined that I would need to have an amneosentisis before they would even consider inducing labor. They wanted to see if the lungs were developed enough for delivery so we had the test done when we first arrived. That was about 8 a.m. and they had to do it twice since the first try didn't draw any amniotic fluid out - something in that tells them that the lungs are fully developed and that the baby is ready to be born. And then the wait began..... and we waited..... and we waited.... and finally about 1 p.m. the test revealed that "TA-DA, we can go ahead with the delivery". I was STARVING to death by then since the usual instructions are "nothing to eat after midnight" the day before.
Everything was put into place and an IV drip was started about 1:30 p.m. with the Pitossin and the fun began. I was already dialated 2-3 cm and about 95% effaced before all of this was started and when that medicine hit my system, it was like a freight train being stretched out. They broke my water about 2 p.m. and that REALLY got things going. Now all of this was going on back in the "old days" when natural childbirth and lamaze was the going craze. We had taken the lamaze classes and I didn't want anything that would involve spinal injections so all I was going to get was a local anesthetic for the delivery stitches. The breathing worked great until they told me to PUSH - didn't like that one little bit. It was FOREVER (only about 30 minutes) but it seemed like FOREVER and then it was a big rush to the delivery room (oh, yes, you still went to a delivery room in those days) and being told to "Don't push, now, just pant..pant..pant". By then contractions were coming every minute and were very strong and when they said to PUSH again, I said "nope, not gonna do this any more, it is just gonna have to ....OHHHHH" and a few minutes later Sarah Christine was born. That was at 4:51 p.m. for a grand total of 3 hours and 11 minutes of labor from start to finish.
Sarah, you were so very tiny and beautiful. You weighed in at 4 lbs. 11 oz. and were 18 inches long. You looked like a little dollbaby all snuggled up in the blankets and so perfect. Ten toes, ten fingers, absolutely no hair and such a tiny little mouth. You were just so precious and a wonder to hold in my arms. You came into this world with a healthy hearty cry and immediately had all the nurses and a pediatric doctor arguing that you could not be a full term baby - you were just too little and could only be a 7 month baby. My OB Dr. Lewis had to tell them that you really were full term and just small. When the placenta was delivered, it was only about 1/3 the size that it should be and that was why you were so tiny. You always were a fighter and strong right from the start. My little independent first born, my little girl.
You make me so very proud. You are such a good person. You always are teaching and showing others how to do things. You are a wonderful mother and wife. You are my joy and my love, always.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my little angel - 34 years have gone by so fast and may you have many, many more. I love you, Sarah.