Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cheyenne's Honor Society

Tonight was Cheyenne's induction into the Junior National Honor Society, we went to the school for the program, it was very nice and we are so proud of her. Of course I put new batteries in the camera before we went and they were no good, so missed all the pictures at the school (I will get copies from one of the other parents) but did get some nice ones when we got home with her certificate. Here she is with me, I could not be more proud of her today!
With Richard and I
One with her Dad and I, yep we made her!!!!!! We did good!!!!!
Her Dad and her sisters and brother and her niece, there was one of just her and her Dad but it turned out so blurry you cannot see it well so did not post it.
Now she can get busy on her volunteer work, she has to get at least 10 hours before the end of school, but somehow I think she will get more than that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Some things just don't change

I often say now that I am no longer paid by the VA, I quit saying I no longer work for them sometime ago, since I get on average 3 to 5 phone calls or questions a week, either from previous vets who I knew from the clinic and stayed in touch with me, or new people who find out I worked there. While I firmly believe the VA is broken and needs some serious attention, I also believe our vets deserve any help and answers they can get, so I continue to fill out paperwork, make the occasional phone call to one of the "someones" I still know higher up in the VA and answer what questions I can.
I think the same goes for Richard now, he was in recruiting for five years, Station Commander for many of them, and the top recruiter in the whole area for most of the years he was in, now he will tell you recruiting was worse then Desert Storm for him, and given a choice he would go to Iraq (he would do that anyway its an Army thing I think) rather then go back to recruiting, but the other day we were driving off Post and stopped to pick up this kid walking, he needed a ride to a pizza place in town, Richard asked him if he worked there and he said no, he was just going in to apply for a job, well that brought out the recruiter in Richard, he spent the next 10 minutes asking the kid if he had thought about the Army, what job would he want( infantry of course) and telling him what to study to pass the ASVAB test they have to take (the kid had taken it and failed needs to study and take again) I could see why Richard was top recruiter and why we have a living room full of tropheys and medals to show for it, in that 10 minutes he had the kid completely ready to sign now, and if he were still a recruiter I think the kid would have committed right there, instead Richard sent him off with some tools needed to get in if he decides to for sure, and something to think will the army help you when you get out, can you use the job you train for in the civilians world etc. It was pretty impressive how he could read the kid, knew what questions to ask and how to answer the kids questions, I guess somethings you just can't shut off even when you are not really doing them anymore.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Funeral Potatoes

Levi came home tonight excited to tell me he had met a new acquaintance from Utah, while walking down the street he happened to hear some of this guys cell phone conversation, when he hung up Levi said are you by chance from Utah, well yes how did you know replied the guy, because you said you were going home to make funeral potatoes Levi told all the places we have lived Utah is the only place I have ever lived that people knew what funeral potatoes were by that name. Now of course all the kids want me to make some! So it got me to thinking you know you are from Utah if....
You know what funeral potatoes are
You can make 1000 or more types of jello salad no recipe needed
You understand what driving up the canyon means (that one drives Richard nuts)
Deer hunting season was a school holiday (I don't know if it is anymore?)
You measure distance in time not miles (it is 45 minutes to Salt Lake, 20 minutes to Ogden etc.)
Gun racks with guns are a common truck accessory
12 year old Boys and girls take hunter safety and go hunting with their parents
Schools do not close for two inches of snow
People still wave when you drive past them on the road
The neighbors bring treats and introduce themselves when you move into a new house.
You KNOW it will rain over general conference weekend
You celebrate Pioneer Day, but probably have no idea when Utah Statehood day is (it is January 4th)
An outing to see the lights at Temple square is a favorite Christmas outing no matter what religion you are.
You have shopped at ZCMI and know what it stands for
There is a church and a seven eleven on every corner
No one bats an eye when you tell them you have 9 brothers and sisters (yes I do)
You have tied a quilt and know how to can (bottle) fruit and vegetables.
You drive the short distance to Idaho for lottery tickets, Nevada to gamble and Wyoming for fireworks.
and you can pronounce Toole and Tremonton correctly.

Now it has been many moons since I lived in Utah, so some of these may have changed and for those of you still in Utah I would be interested to see your additions to the you know list.

Staci's musical

We went to Staci's musical program at school last night, they did a very nice job combining music and physical education, so they had singing, dancing and hula hoops, that was cute.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Friend Ron

While I worked for the VA I used to say I had 1500 children, of them I had about 50 very special vets, ones who touched my life in many ways and that I was closest to.
I am now in the process of writing a term paper for school on schizophrenia, and it brought up memories of one of my very special vets, I am actually doing my paper on him and the effects of his illness on his everyday life from my perspective. He died a couple years ago, but I did get permission from his sisters to use his case in my paper, and I have agreed not to use his last name to protect his and their privacy.
I can not remember when I fist met Ron, or when we became friends it just sort of evolved over a period of time. He was a 55 year old Vietnam Veteran who had been diagnosed with PTSD, schizophrenia and Bi Polar disease, in the beginning he was a very non compliant patient, he did not come to appointments, did not take medications as prescribed, and generally did not take care of himself. I began to call him to make his appointments and eventually he came to trust me, I would call him and let him know I needed him to come in, he would call me when he got there, I would meet him outside and take him right into the back room so he did not have to deal with people in the waiting room. Ron believed the government was going to "blow him up" so when his pills would arrive in the mail he would have to put them in the cupboard for 7 days, then when they did not blow up he could get them out and take them, the problem with this was, he would forget they were there, so he would call me after he had not taken them for several days to tell me he did not have any meds and was having some serious "episodes", we worked out a system, I would order his pills, he would call me the day they arrived, I would mark the day on my calender and seven days later I would call him to let him know it was time, then while I was on the phone with him he would open the cupboard and take them out, as long as he stayed medicated he actually did fairly well. My favorite memory of him was the day he called to tell me he remembered he had an appointment the next day so he had showered (schizophrenic people are not terribly concerned about hygiene) combed his hair and beard, washed his clothes and was all ready to come in, he always came in the same pair of purple sweat pants and a red flannel shirt, and he always made me smile, the fact that he took the time to prepair himself and remembered his appointment on his own touched me immensely. As time went on I saw him come out of his shell somewhat, he lived in a small cabin up in the woods and kept to himself at all times, but once we got him on a regular schedule with his medication he began to venture out a little, he called one day to tell me he had entered a fishing contest at the lake by where he lived and he had even taken a minute to stop by the road and say hello to his neighbor on his way home. Ron never would go to therapy and he never did choose to tell me what happened in Vietnam to make him the way he was, I can only assume that is where his problems began since from all accounts I could find from his records, and talking to him and his sisters he lead a vary normal young life, it was a few years after returning home from the war that he just took off and ended up in the mountains of Colorado.
He died alone in his cabin one day, he had a stroke, his sisters came out to take care of all the arrangments and they came in to meet me, they said he had spoken of me often and they wanted to meet the person who had touched their brothers heart when it seemed noone could get in.
The point of this blog....well there is none really except a trip down memory lane for me and a the hope that wherever he is now, I hope Ron knew he touched my life as well. You were my friend Ron and you are missed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yard Work

I finally decided it is warm enough to start putting in my flowers, I love gardening, but it tends to get expensive if you are starting from the very beginning, as I am, well almost, there was some spots put in here with some tulips and peonies but that is it, so keeping that in mind here is my work in progress. This side will be Stevies garden spot, she mostly wanted Lillies so we are putting in all different kinds.
Other side of the front door, I love pansies so we have some of them as well as snap dragons and the peonies.

Farther down are my carnations, penroses, and the tulips and more peonies, I will of course be adding more in as money allows. Got my humming bird and wild bird feeders hung up, they have the most gorgeous colorful birds here, I love to sit in the yard and watch them. I also had to do some summer clothes shopping for the little girls today, Sienna is so easy there are so many cute little girl things I have to be careful to stay in budget, Staci is still fairly easy, Cheyenne on the other hand is only twelve yet she looks seventeen, so finding clothes that she likes and I find appropriate is not always easy! Luckily we have found a few things we could agree on so far this year, she looks very "stylish" and not to grown up, and it is early in the season so we can continue to look and hopefuly find them a few more things.

For those of you who were asking here is a picture of Rich's incision, it is about two inches long and has staples, they will be removed next week, thank goodness they are the worst part for me as it literally looks like they just staples his back up (well I guess that is exactly what they did), we clean it with alcohol and change the dressing twice daily, it is healing up nicely.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Good News

Cheyenne got nominated and them accepted into the Junior National Honor Society, we are so proud of her! She will be having a induction ceromony later this month, very few kids were accepted so it really is an honor.
I was able to bring Richard home yesterday, he is doing very well, he slept the whole night (he did not sleep much at all in the hospital) I had to wake him up to make sure he took his pills, but other than that he made it through the whole night. He is able to get up pretty well, he is walking, he says the actual getting up and down is the hard part, once he is up he feels pretty good. He cannot sit up for more than 45 minutes at a time, it is to much strain on his spine and the incision, He will be off work on convalescent leave (yeah does not take away from the TONS of regular leave he has built up) for about 6 weeks, with some physical therapy during that time, then we will know how well the surgery worked, the doctor was pretty confident he will see a big improvement, so we are hopeful. I have been sick all day, some bug I picked up, makes it hard to take care of him, but I insist he not over do it, so I will manage, and luckily for me Stevie has been helping as well, running to the store, getting dinner etc.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Brought a stranger home

Yesterday I was at work, trying to get done and out of here so I could get to the hospital in Salina to spend some time with Richard before I had to come back to work this morning, up to the counter comes this poor kid (I say kid but in his 20's I would guess) he told me he was being ETS'd out of the Army, his flight was the next morning, all his friends were out in the field so he had no where to stay, could he stay in the airport for the night, well we are not a 24 hour airport, we lock up after the last flight, when I told him that he just looked so distraught, he was telling me he thought he would have to stay outside and would he get in trouble, well I felt bad for him so I asked him a few questions just to get a feel for him, then I told him my husband was stationed at Fort Riley as well and he could come home with me and stay on my couch for the night, then ride back with me in the morning to catch his flight. Now as Richard says the Army takes care of their own, so of course we would do whatever we could for him, and Richard would have expected me to bring him home....IF he were home, but he was in the hospital, however Steve has been here helping with the kids while I have been busy runnning between work and going to the doctor and hospital with Richard, so he was going to be there. I would never have let someone I did not know home with the kids and I if we had been alone.
Anyhow he turned out to be a very nice kid, home from Iraq not long ago, he was hit with a roadside bomb while he was there, blew up his knee and hurt his hand, he is okay now, could have been much worse! Stevie made dinner while I was at the hospital and she said he was so thrilled with that, he had some of his rations in his bag he thought he was going to have to eat, he said he had not had a home cooked meal in 3 years, so it was great for him. When he thanked me again this morning, I simply told him "pay it forward" someday you can help someone else who needs it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Richards surgery

Well I am happy to say Richard is out of surgery, as I write this we are sitting in his very nice room, with its private patio, complete with plants and furniture, his nurse has been in several times to make sure he is comfortable, so they were not kidding when they said (the surgical center) it would be more like a hotel then a hospital. Much nicer to recuperate in. The surgery went well, he was in about an hour and a half, so less time then I expected, he seems to be doing fine now, a bit of pain, but they have him on a morphine drip and so he should be okay pain wise. I will be able to take him home tomorrow night or Saturday afternoon, we are not sure which yet. He does have his cell phone and is able to have it on, should any of you wish to call him. I will keep you up to date as he recovers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter to All

We hope you all enjoyed your Easter, here are a few pictures of our celebration. Here are the girls coloring eggs.

Staci doing the Frisbee toss Fort Riley egg hunt

Sienna with the Easter Bunny

Staci and the Easter Bunny
Sienna hunting eggs at Fort Riley
Hunting eggs Easter morning
All dressed up in new Easter outfits.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt

We took the kids to the Easter Egg hunt on Fort Riley today, they had such fun, I would post pictures but Stevie and Levi did not bring in the camera before they left to go see a movie, so I will have to post them later with the other Easter pictures.
The Post really did a good job putting on the egg hunt, they separated it up into age groups so all the kids could find eggs, then they had games and activities set up for them to do. The Easter bunny was there as well as the "Riley Bear" Fort Riley' s mascot. I am not sure Sienna knew what to think of the Easter bunny, she did sit on his lap for a picture, but did not look like she was real sure of him.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Richard had his "shock therapy" today, what they actually did was put needles in him and shock his nerves with electricity, I have had it done before and it hurts! although he says it did not hurt as much as the dicogram he had last week (to read about that horrible procedure you can go to my family blog site Anderson family news) anyhow all the test are showing his problems are with discs L3 and L4, so the nuro surgeon recommends surgery to shave off part of the disk and relieve the pressure on his nerves. He is set to have surgery next week, it is only about an hour surgery and one night in the hospital, though he will need to take about 6 weeks to fully recover afterwards, he seemed relieved to know they will finally do something about this for him, the initial injury that started all this happened about 13 years ago while he was stationed in Korea so it has been ALONG time with a lot of pain for him. We got lucky and the Army and Tri Care are letting him have it done by a civilian doctor in Salina (about 50 miles away), we are pretty impressed with the doctor, and much more comfortable having him do the surgery rather than having it done on Post at the hospital there., simply because this doctor has about 15 years experience with this sort of thing and has moved it all along very quickly since his first appointment a couple months ago.
The doctor seems to think he will be able to do sit ups and walk fine afterwards so his Army profile will be updated and he will be able to return to regular duty, which is what he has been working towards since we decided he would stay in another three years, so all in all it is good news. Now we just need to get through the surgery, even though it is very routine for this nuro surgeon it is still surgery so there is always a bit of anxiety before having something like that done.