To all our dear friends and loved ones!
The last update, dated November 16, was chocked full of great things and uplifting experiences during my week’s visit with Kris back in November. I was excited to just send it out to you all. Without being too much of a kill-joy, however, let’s just say not every day can be so “chocked full of great things,” and such was the case the week after I left.
Kris became very ill, I’m afraid, and was finally diagnosed with pneumonia. It’s bad enough when anyone is down with the “bug,” but it’s really very difficult in Kris’s situation. She cannot speak, so she can’t tell you what hurts, where she feels bad, or even that she needs her nose cleaned out. She evidently ran a fever for several days, and they started her on an antibiotic. That didn’t seem to help, so she was given another stronger antibiotic, and that must have helped a good bit. She wasn’t taking her tube feedings for a while, so they started her on Pedialyte liquid for hydration. She was in bed, however, a number of days for the most part, and that’s not good for someone who is already having trouble with muscle tone. She didn’t seem to want to go to therapy, and likely had some depression in there as well. Who wouldn’t?!!!
The worry factor hit an all-time high for me, so the telephone conversations between Sebring, Florida, and the director of nursing, the assistant director of nursing, the nurses on duty, and the therapy gals became even more frequent. They were all concerned. Fortunately, the medical doctor for the facility has an office there in LaVernia, too, and he seems very good about coming in to check on patients. Kris was better by the end of last week, finally, and today I understand she had some mashed potatoes and gravy; at least several teaspoons full. Another good sign. She’s back in therapy and was even playing checkers the other day.
Last Wednesday, Kris had an appointment for more evaluations back at the newly opened VA Audie Murphy Poly Trauma Center in San Antonio. Russell went with her, of course, and he said Kris will likely be fitted with a neck brace of some new design that has helped quite a few people with her type of disability. Kris is now more and more prone to having her head to the left side and down, and it’s becoming more difficult for her to keep her head up. That will make it really hard for her to drive her motorized wheelchair when she gets it, because she has to be able to look ahead and see where she’s going. This new neck brace should help, and we are very hopeful that it will.
Even now, it is so difficult not to be there, but I know that everyone is doing their best to take good care of Kris. Russell will go with her again this Wednesday for two more appointments at the VA, and a final determination will be made the first week of January as to whether Kris will be able to come there for several weeks of in-depth therapy and speech training. Fortunately, I will be able to be there that week, and I am truly thankful and praise God we’ve been able to book some more shows in January and February especially to help with our finances. In the meantime, I talk to her every day via Susan, the speech therapist there at Country Care Manor, or through Russell. It is such a help to me to be able to do that.
Now, for those who have asked... a very quick update on the remodeling of the double-wide we bought last spring. We bought it in late March and left for Texas April 2nd. We decided to paint when we get back. Once we returned to Florida in the middle of October, however, we decided the kitchen needed some work on the cabinets, and then we’d paint. It’s now December 12, and the kitchen will be done when the new floor covering is in (coming soon to the Home Depot!). Never say you’re going to “just paint” when you’re married to a carpenter/electrician/plumber perfectionist!!! I’m the painter, he does the rest, but I feed him well so that keeps him happy! After 30 years of marriage, we’ve decided we will definitely live through this whole-house renovation project, and it will be lovely when it’s done!
We’ll miss not being there with Kris for Christmas this year, the way we were last year. But Kris’s family is close by and they will be with her I’m sure. Russell said they attended the special Christmas party for residents this past Thursday evening. He took a picture of Kris with Santa, and he said she even tried some stuffing at the dinner. These are all positive things and we just thank God for and for giving us such hope. This is the time of year to have hope, after all, to rejoice in that Hope, and to praise Him for every joy that we have, and even for the rough spots. Corrie Ten Boom once said, “In order to feel the worth of the Anchor, we need to feel the stress of the storm.”
May your Christmas be blessed, may your New Year be filled with health and happiness, and may you find the peace that is brought to us in the form of a Babe in a manger. This is the time when it’s hard to be away from all our children and grandchildren, and so we wish all of them a joyous Christmas, too. But Jesus is the reason we celebrate, after all, and so, with grateful hearts, we wish to all of you... a very Merry Christmas!
Blessings and love,
Carol and George
Truly I meant to put Kris’s mailing address in last night’s update. Now that several people have already asked me, George said, “Why don’t you send it out to everyone now!” Good idea!!!
Maj Kristine Ratliff
Country Care Manor
2736 FM 775, Room 302
LaVernia, TX 78121
At this beautiful season of Hope and Love, Kris will be delighted to hear from any who wish to send a card. And, again, a very Merry Christmas to you all!
Blessings and love,
Carol and George