Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
I haven’t done a Christmas newsletter in a long time but decided this was the year to do one.
I usually try to keep bad or sad news out of a Christmas newsletter, but the recent events in my life can’t be ignored.
Tim turned 69 on September 11th. The day before, he entered the hospital with a very high heart rate. The doctors used a variety of medications in the attempt to lower his heart rate, and finally, one did, but it also made his blood pressure plummet. They were able to revive him, but then it happened again. At 5 am on his birthday, his heart and lungs gave out, and the doctors pronounced that he had died.
Tim had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis nearly ten years ago. For the first few years, his illness remained stable. Slowly breathing became more difficult for him, and he closed out his Cedar Box business. Finally, he required supplemental oxygen and recently was told his illness was terminal. He accepted the news calmly but was also in denial of the prognosis. He became unconscious and died the way he wanted, by “falling asleep,” and he wasn’t aware he was that close to death.
It’s still hard for me to believe he is gone. His wishes were to be cremated, and we have his remains with us. Next summer, Chris and Cody plan to take some of his ashes to be scattered on Mt. Rainier, which was also his wish.
After Tim died, things changed very quickly for me. It was evident that I couldn’t stay in the house in Diamond Point (Sequim) by myself. Despite Tim’s illness, he took care of me and the house; he did it all; grocery shopping, laundry, cooking.
To get the care I needed, I would need to move into an assisted living facility, and Chris was not comfortable leaving me alone in Sequim, so we decided I would move to Spokane Valley. They found a great facility that is close to where Chris works and where Chris and Hollie live.
Moving was stressful and expensive, but I’m getting more and more settled at Evergreen Fountains. The staff here is terrific, and I’m becoming adjusted to life in assisted living.
Because of the problem with my legs, I am unable to sit with my legs down and my feet flat on the floor, so riding in a car would be difficult. Instead, I was transported from Sequim to Post Falls in a medical transport (like an ambulance). When I arrived, I was able to hold my 3-month-old great-grandson, Houston James.
Maliyah came up from Texas to spend a week with me and help me get packed up, and then she drove my car to Post Falls. Chris and Hollie will keep my car for things they need and help me get around when I need it.
Our family all helped Chris unpack the moving van and set up things in my studio apartment.
I have a small kitchenette with my microwave, the staff checks in on me twice a day, I have the option of eating in my apartment or going down to the dining room for meals, and I have home health care who comes to care for my legs. There are plans on the drawing board to get me an electric wheelchair, giving me much more independence. In the meantime, I have all the comforts of home and family nearby. The only thing I’m missing is Tim.
It was an eventful year. We started it off the way the last one ended… in the middle of a pandemic and wearing masks everywhere. It’s not a hardship for me like I expected it to be… I just now see it as a way to accessorize. I have very pretty printed masks to wear whenever I’m out and about, which is rare. The only place I go is to the doctor. Tim was out much more than I was and he wasn’t nearly as enamored with the masks as I was. Between glasses and an oxygen cannula, he had a lot of stuff attached to his ears.
We also started the new year off the way the last one ended, with more health woes. Between all of the doctor visits between the two of us, Tim drove to Sequim and Port Angeles a lot. In June, I was diagnosed with stage 4 Lymphedema. In addition to the radiation ulcer and peripheral neuropathy, and Rheumatoid Arthritis in my knees, it seems like everything from the waist down is damaged by something. At the beginning of the year, Tim’s health was at least stable for the most part, other than flare-ups for the problems he already had. He had gotten used to dragging an oxygen hose all over the house and an oxygen tank when he went out. In July, he met with a lung specialist at the University of Washington Medical Center. There had been talk about seeking a lung transplant, but that has been ruled out. This doctor diagnosed Tim’s Pulmonary Fibrosis as terminal, but that could have meant two months, two years, or 20 years. As it turned out, it was only three months.
We got some new things to help make our lives and health issues more comfortable. Number one, at least for Tim, was getting a new car. It’s a 2021 Toyota Corolla, silver-gray, and such a nice upgrade from the Ford Fiesta. Tim hated that car and loved the new Corolla. He even made room in the garage so he could park it there. I’ve never seen him baby a car this much. He was sad to have to sell his Toyota truck that he has had since 1989, so this new car has helped to soothe that loss. We bought new recliners and put the futon and my big blue chair in the living room. My recliner is listed as a “therapy chair,” and it’s so comfortable and helps me cope with my pain. It’s a zero-gravity lift chair and looks like a big brown teddy bear. Tim bought a recliner without all of the bells and whistles, and Chris inherited this chair.
We were looking for a new house in town to buy right in Sequim, but that was adding so much stress in our lives that we decided to stay put in Diamond Point. We’ve lived there for 20 years and were comfortable, and just the thought of having to pack up and move and unpack was more than we wanted to deal with. I never dreamed that plan would be so short-lived.
Christmas will be bittersweet for me after 42 years of Christmas memories with Tim. We lost Courtney 21 years ago, and I miss them both.
Having family nearby helps, and living in a facility with caring staff also helps. This year, since I live near so many family members, I can buy gifts and have them wrapped under a Christmas tree, something I’ve missed for the past 20 years.
Chris, Hollie, and the family made moving easier than I had imagined it would be. I wish now I had insisted that Tim and I had made this move two or three years ago; maybe he would have lived longer.
So, I wish you the best of this holiday season. I am doing my best to do that as well.
I can be reached on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cindi.deanwafstet/
By e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or on my cell phone at 360 207 9555