Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update on mom, a daughters perspective

I am exhausted, so won't go in to too much detail right now. But wanted to get everyone caught up on where we are with mom.  Tuesday was her third back surgery.  It was supposed to be the easiest and least painful of them all.  So the plan was for her to come home Wednesday.  But around 9:30 am on Wed, she started having pain in her hip flexor area.  By 10:30-11, it was so excruciating that she could barely catch her breath.  In all honesty, I could stop there, because that is where we still are.  They have tried every type of pain medication, they have doubled them, they have given her enough morphine and steroid shots to kill an elephant, and still she cries in pain.  If you don't know my mom well, you need to understand that she doesn't cry in pain...ever.  She is stubborn and she will lie to your face if you ask her if she hurts.  But she can't hide this pain.  Her blood pressure stayed in the 170/115 range most of yesterday and today.  When I left tonight it was finally in the 140/95 range.  Thank goodness.  I cannot count how many pills they have given her or how many people have come in only to shrug their shoulders and say "I don't know".
Finally today when I saw that things were not getting better and the pain was increasing to the other side. I requested further tests.  The NP agreed, but could not get the DR to respond to her emails, pages and calls. So I let them know that if we continue to get no where, I would have to call in for a second Dr's opinion.  Fairly quickly after that the DR arrived and ordered an MRI.
Whether it is nerve damage or "normal" nerve pain, I don't know.  But I have had 3 nurses at the Spinal Surgery Center tell me they have yet to deal with anything like this, especially the inability to control the pain and blood pressure.  Mom's right leg is numb to her touch but on fire inside, that is the way she describes it.  Apparently our next step is to move her to a rehab clinic where they will try and narrow in on the exact pain and try and find a control for it.  He said we could be there most of next week.  It just depends on how quickly they can get it located and controlled.  At the rate we are moving I feel like she will never get better.  But what has been 2 days for the rest of the world has been a lifetime for me.  12 hours each day, by her side, watching her be so miserable.  All along being her normal sweet self, apologizing to every nurse for everything.  She hates to receive help, but she just doesn't have a choice now.  We measured today, when trying to sit up, she turns white as a ghost at 30 degrees, at 90 degrees she is sobbing and to stand up longer than 30 seconds sounds like she is having a heart attack and trying to catch her breath.  This is not the mom I know, and it has been horrific to watch.  But I can't leave her side, because someone has to fight for her.  She has been so sweet that if they asked her to serve lunch to the other patients, she would get up and try.  And then there is me... Making sure that she gets the care she deserves, and clearly needs.  But I did let them know they were lucky my brother is out of state.  Because he is 6'4" 320lbs and has way less patience than me!
So off to try and sleep, my shift starts early tomorrow!  And I just have to say a big thank you to Shannon Harris for keeping tabs on me and keeping me sane.  And my poor husband who has had to take time from his already too tight schedule to pick up the kids, because I can't leave her side.  And to Blake who let me laugh off some steam tonight, because when I say that I'm sure the nurses sit in their station hoping that crazy daughter isn't in the room, I am not joking  (And there are a few people out there who know how true that statement is)!  But he lets me call every night and vent and laugh so that I don't cry.
Thank you all for so many thoughts and prayers you keep sharing on facebook.  I share them with her throughout the day, and she is so grateful!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Moving Forward

Time to get busy.  It is as simple as that.  Rob can only do so much and that leaves me.  Something has to be done, I am way to big a fan of eating!! What could be a great opportunity, has presented it's self, so I am going to try my luck!  There is a significant road race in Clarksville that has yet to figure out how to make money or sell sponsorships.  They have a good committee, but of course everyone is uncomfortable asking for money.  Which is where I come in.  
You see sponsorships are not donations, they aren't handouts.  You figure out what your demographic is.  In this case, who will be racing and who will be cheering the racers on.  And then you approach companies who want to be in front of that demographic.  When they partner with the race, they have placed themselves strategically in front of their ideal customer and showcased that they have a common interest with that customer.  It is a win win all the way around!  But you do have to be very strategic about who you ask to partner with your event.  Otherwise you waste too much time on meetings and presentations where "no" will surely be the answer.  
We all know that I have no time to waste.  I feel good about 3 days a weeks, so those days need to be filled with successful meetings, building strategic partnerships.  I hope that everything will work out.  Goodness knows the extra money will be helpful!
So time to put my sponsorship pants back on and go gang busters!  Hopefully I will also be able to get some things working for Feld Entertainment, not to mention moving forward with the 2011 SouthNashDash!
It is clearly time to move forward!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dave Ramsey, What do we do?

Time to get real, and I mean real painful type honest.  When Rob and I met, we knew we were soul mates, even if all logistics said "Absolutely Not!" But one thing that was ver different about us, was our perspective on money.  You see, I grew up with a mom in Nashville who in between marriages always worked 2 or 3 jobs; And a dad who lived in San Diego and chose to work the night shift so that he could surf every day.  I'm guessing he maxed out at $12/hr by the time I was in high school.  So to say we had no money would be an understatement.  But to say I was not spoiled would be a lie. I'm certain that there were times when my mom bought me a new pair of Jordache rather than paying an electric bill.  As i've become a parent I have realized that my mom shows love through gift giving, it is who she is, and she passed that on to me.  But I was always blessed, I spent my summers with my Aunt, who truly spoiled me rotten and then welcomed me into her and my uncle's home for good when I moved to Cali after 9th grade. So from all appearances, I had a great life.  But the secret was, my parents still had no money, but they did everything they could for me.  I can't imagine the sacrifice it was to keep me in a cheerleading uniform.  Now that I pay for my own children's activities, I'm certain that my love of cheering wiped out their bank account occasionally.
(not my squad, but CHS cheerleaders on a firetruck for a parade, just like we did back in the day)

And then came my third and final step dad, who is an amazing man.  He has helped with everything since I was 18, and I do mean everything.  But still, him having to help indicates that I was always broke.  At 24 I had Isaac, still hadn't finished college, and the story could go on forever.  But the short of it is, I was so broke that I never made enough to pay the bills, so too often I would say to myself "you can't pay the gas bill, so you might as well go ahead and get those cute shoes, you can afford those".  What a horrible web I made for myself.  
But jump forward 10 years and I met the love of my life, who had a completely different perspective.  He had no idea how much anything cost, because it was never an issue.  Money was always there.  He had a great step dad who was very successful in his industry and took great care of them.  He was the kid with the cool car and the soccer trips to Europe.  I was the kids working 30 hrs a week, while in high school, trying to help pay the bills.  We were so very different.  I am certain the idea of combining bank accounts scared the crap out of him, as it did me.  I wanted control over my money and the amount of shoes I had.  By that time, I was making good money, and living with my parents, so again, for all outside appearances I looked golden.  Fancy car, great suits, amazing job.  But still zero in savings or retirement or an ESA.  Rob's desire to put money in savings excited him as much as a new handbag excited me, and that is a little scary.  But together we made good money, so no worries.  Until I had to leave my job, I uncovered things that the FBI has only recently discovered and the company and the owners, one of whom was in our wedding, are in trouble to the amount of double digit millions... So it was good I left, but horrible for our finances, which we still didn't agree on. 
We survived and after a year, we realized how much stronger we had become through that struggle, although not one we would want to repeat.  Rob continued to excel in his company and my job continued to decline.  So with lots of prayer and a lot of nervousness, I resigned.  Now again, we were living on just his salary.  But we did great.  We have been doing Dave Ramsey's written budget for at least 2 years now.  Certain months were tight, and Rob would get a little grumpy, but we always made it.  You must remember, I have lived the life of "poor", he has never!  So he has a right to get grumpy, he is scared out of his goard!
Regardless, we have done well. He has  been able to take great care of us.  But this month starts his new compensation package, which is heavily weighted on the end of the year (which worked before, because I made good money). But without me working, it is a different story.  So this weekend the Feb written budget was done, just like Dave Ramsey says.  We know where every penny is going.  And I do mean every penny.  Because for the first time since 2008, we don't have enough pennies.  In fact we are short a lot of pennies.  And not due to waste, we are short pennies if I don't go to the grocery store.  Typically we spend about $600 a month in groceries for the 5 of us.  This month, $0 is allotted.  Now I am scared! I am grateful that during the good times we started food storage.  But my family looks to me for exciting meals at least a few times a week and I don't know how many ways I can cook corn, pasta or tuna?  I don't even think the kids like tuna, but we have a lot because it is protein that stores well! 
I have only one thing that is keeping me sane, and that is my faith in the Lord.  Before I left my job and tried to get pregnant, I prayed a lot.  I went to the temple, to pray some more.  And I am certain that the Lord gave me a thumbs up, believe me, he has given me plenty of thumbs down! As I have prayed continuously all weekend, I have had overwhelming peace.  I have no clue how we will make it.  From the outside we look like a pretty wealthy family.  We have nice cars and a beautiful 3,500 sq foot home.  And I have a husband who believes you don't charge things, which is why our dining room sat empty for 3 years! So I am grateful that in our budget we aren't paying a ton of debt, the only debt we have of course is car and student loan.  He brought nothing but savings to the marriage, I on the other hand brought nothing but debt.  But not credit cards or unsecured loans.  I had the debt that I thought was normal, car and school.
Anyway, that is where I am today.  Broke!  I can't spend a penny!  I have tickets to tonights Predators game (free from an old co-worker) and Rob asked if I was packing his dinner. How do you sneak that in through security? 
I am praying that this trial will bring us closer together, and not tear us apart.  No money can be a horrible thing!  And cause lots of anger to emerge.  First thought is that I should go to work, but with a baby due in a few months, I could only wait tables, and I have been so sick, that I am totally unreliable!  I would ruin my reputation at the restaurant I love. So I don't really think that is an option.  I am trying to sell anything I don't use on ebay... Not sure if that will work either... And I am saying a lot of prayers!
I know that I am not alone.  And I also know that I am extremely fortunate!  So many people have been desperate and out of work for a year or more since the recession began.  I just wonder, how do they make it?  How do you stay sane?  How do you decide what to pay and what not to pay??  I don't have enough money to pay all the bills, although I have zero allotted for groceries, I have to buy milk, bread and sandwich meat for lunches right??? I just need a little guidance...
All I can say is that I am grateful for all my husband has taught me about the value of money!  But the flip side is I can't sleep, I am so worried about what to do for dinner and lunch!  
So again, any advice you have would be great.  I know I am not alone, and I pray for you who are struggling every day!  Thank goodness, I did that before (part of being in a financially poor ward I guess), but now I am truly understanding your pain.  And for those of you still holding strong, keep up the great work!  And save some, you just never know when you will need it!