Friday, March 23, 2012


Susan H writes: Dear friends, family and blog followers.........The words for this entry do not flow as others have. There is no sugar coating the current situation. So rather than ease into the update, I am going to tell it like taking off an adhesive bandage, quick and painful as opposed to slow and even more painful.

Mr. Bob is receiving Hospice care. Results from his recent CT scan showed that the lung cancer, an aggressive form of cancer, has spread to his liver. We called VNA Hospice services Thursday and they arrived Thursday afternoon. Incredible. Mr. Bob was able to move to the same Skilled Nursing room as Jane and they are now roommates. He is at peace with the what will take place in the coming weeks. Jane still recovering, seems to understand, she has good days and not so good days. They are together now, beds next to each other, their recliner chair in between.         

Tonight we sat together in their room, Jane in twilight sleep, as we listened to Mr. Bob tell stories of his childhood. Stories we had not heard before. 

My mother has made our family shine in the posts she has written, in her eyes I suppose we do shine. I do think sometimes she wrote what she wanted her family to be rather that what really was. But tonight it felt like we became that family. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

5:55 AM

We sat on the edge of the bed, my father and I. He had suggested that we watch the clock turn to 5:55. Patterns in numbers have always interested him, be it a clock or an odometer. We still had a few minutes until the three red numerals became identical, and we talked about things as they once were, and about his father. We talked of life, and how he was proud of his children, and how my mom was recuperating from her own health challenges. 

Minutes earlier I had lifted my father off the bathroom floor, his legs no longer able to hold him up as they had for the last eight decades. But now as the clock turned to 5:55, we both knew it was time. Time to let others help him with things that were once easy, once simple, and once done without effort. 

I will treasure this moment with my father, our talk of happier times. And as the clock changed to 5:56 I helped him back under his covers, tucked him in, and gently kissed his cheek.  

            -Chris Humphrey

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Susan H writes: Jane and Chris have the gift of taking pictures that invoke both the emotion of the snap shot in time, but also can bring up our own personal feelings and emotions that we are reminded of while looking at a paticular photo. It is an amazing talent. Both of their photos over the years have brought extreme joy, laughter, provoked insight, and yes, sadness. This is a photo Chris took the other day at the Hospital. It speaks volumes.........

Tim and Chris have been taking turns spending the night with Jane. While she was in ICU there were many scary moments, hours. Those moments have seemed to pass, not quite as scary. Jane, while she was still speaking clearly and in sentences; had Tim and Chris come to the bedside and she gave them the, 'Dying Parent', talk and asked them to pass what they were told on to me. She told them, "Even though there is sadness and grief when a parent dies, there is also a sense of freedom, do not feel guilty about that feeling". Oh my, not only is that as uncomfortable as the 'sex talk' it is far more painful, ouch.      

Her health has since improved; although she is not out of the woods.             

Her vitals are as they should be. Her blood sugar is stabilized and can be managed with diet and oral medication. We had no idea chemotherapy could effect blood suger. Our cousin Shelly let us know that her mother Charlene had the same experience and they were equally surprised.

I am  not technical. Jane is far more advanced in technology which amuses me. My brothers are both amazing in the IT area. Justin and I were able to Skype with Jane, that was comforting for all of us.

Tim spent the night last night and texted me, "I just don't know how Chris did it all those nights". Not that Jane is difficult, but the hospital setting, noises, interruptions, helping when needed. Chris helped change sheets, Tim was a one-man-pep squad last night cheering Mom on from the foot of the bed, "Who's our Mama? Mighty Mighty Mama." That is just one of many cheers he belted out, well probably whispered. No pom poms.

I just received great news........she is being discharged from the hospital. A whirlwind of activity. Family taken a little off guard. Windsor is ready for her. She will be in the more intensive health care center. Jane is still working on being able to sit, walk, talk and feed herself.  Wow, it will be nice  she will be home and Mr. Bob will have an easier time visiting. He got his new wheelchair yesterday.  And even though she doesn't like visitors, I think it's because she wants to look nice, I hope she will welcome those that can visit. It will cheer her up and spur her on. A million THANK YOUs to all!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Susan H writes: friends and blog followers, I don’t know about you but each time I open my email I expect to find a “Manorisms” there waiting for me to read. Knowing that there won’t be, knowing why there isn’t, I still feel disappointed. My mother’s perspective of her life and world around her is always so beautifully written. It makes me feel connected. I asked my mother if she would like me to be a guest writer until she was well enough to return from the Health Center back to her apartment. (I would never insinuate I could do as well or in the same style) She said yes but that she didn’t know how to explain the process.   

My brother Chris is on his way to Glendale this morning, with his computer knowledge, he may have created the Blog for Jane, he suggested that I write something to bring folks up to date with Jane and Mr. Bob.

Aging is different for each of us, some age with the grace of a fine wine while others have a less easy time of it, and then some of us, age like Roquefort cheese. Jane and Bob have experienced, at varying times, all stages. I wish there was dignity in ageing for all, but our family is finding out there a lot of parts that are not dignified, still, my parents have pushed through with Grace beyond what I imagined possible. As do their fellow Winsdorites, all amazing.

Thank you to the Windsor staff for treating all with dignity and holding each in the highest regard.  Be.Amazing

After my mother’s fall in the shower, dislocating her shoulder, moving to the Health Center, the retched effects of chemotherapy, something changed. I would talk with her almost daily and she would tell me she had lost her spark. She so enjoys the interaction to the folks that read her blog, meandering through the Manor stopping to visit with almost everyone, she didn’t have that to look forward to. She is not a woman that likes to be held back or told she can’t do something. She felt like she was ‘grounded’. Unable to do much with her shoulder immobilizer and having to ask for assistance each time she needed to move about, which is often, taking a diuretic. An extremely humbling experience.

Mr. Bob, still dealing with the effects of his chemotherapy and radiation, would visit every day and rest/nap on her bed while she sat in her chair.  They were together even if they were just being in the same space.

My mom, with her Humphrey sense of humor, sent me this card for my last Birthday. She is a collector of interesting cards.  

It seems my mother has lost her rainbow.

Both my parents had appointments on Thursday, Jane an MRI for her shoulder, Mr. Bob a CT scan to see if his cancer had spread. Calls and texts to both of them from their offspring on Thursday went unreturned, my brothers and I were concerned but realized they must both be exhausted from their appointments, my mother was not looking forward to the ‘tunnel’ again, for 45 minutes, she was anxious this time. So we texted each other with the assurance we would get a return call on Friday.

Friday morning Mr. Bob and Tim did get a call…. from Windsor Manor; Jane was on her way to the hospital. Weak with little color. My father still too sick to leave Windsor, felt helpless unable to be with her. Tim, who doesn’t do hospitals or medical things, has been there every step of the way, rushed to Glendale Memorial.  In the Emergency Room, Tim reported that she didn’t look well but was talking and the doctors were doing tests, moving quickly, which made him nervous. They decided to admit her. She spent the day in the ER. Her heartbeat irregular, difficult to stabilize. She was coherent and glad to have Tim with her. The doctors came back with “Arterial Fibrillation”, something that can be managed with medication and possibly a procedure. Tim stayed in contact with Chris, Dad and me through texting.

Day turned into evening, finally she her vitals were stabilized and she was moved to a room – whew

Then something changed……………Again her heart raced and then slowed, and raced again. Her blood pressure dropped, no explanation, Tim still at her side. Mr. Bob waiting to hear good news. Chris ready to come at the drop of a hat. I, being so far away could only pray and be positive, and supportive to Mr. Bob and Tim. I called my parents’ dear friends, Roger and Diane; I asked Diane, through tears, if she would give Tim a pep talk call. Her answer, “we are getting in to the car now”. They were there in minutes. I know many others would be there in minutes also, but that would mortify my mother, she does not like visitors, or surprises.

As time went on and no improvement in her blood pressure, she no longer coherent, they moved her to the intensive care unit.

Early this morning Tim texted me that he was at Jane’s side, vitals good but still despondent. My brother Chris on is on his way, taking bus line that runs Vietnamese variety shows on the TV screens. He will be there this afternoon. He will be a huge support to Tim and Mr. Bob. I keep telling myself she will pull through this just has she has with other challenges, she has the love of family and friends, there are more blogs for her to write, pictures to take, people to visit with, she is not done.

Please send Jane rainbows and positive healing thoughts. Strength, healing thoughts and an appetite to Mr. Bob. Thank you