Friday, January 29, 2016

January 2016 Slowly Continuing South Vero Beach, Ft. Pierce, Peck Lake, Palm Beaches, FL

Friday, January 1

One the first day of this new year, I met an old high school friend for coffee at Starbucks near the Indiatlantic Beach in Melbourne.

Julie has lived in Melbourne several years, but the day before we were to leave was the only time we were able to meet up.

She had lost her Dad a couple years before and knew I had just lost mine the week before.  It was so good to just talk and share our stories with both laughter and tears.

 Saturday, January 2

Anchor up at 10:12 am. We motored back down to Vero Beach. After getting fuel and water at the Marina, we got the anchor down a little before 4pm.

Sunday, January 3

I spent the morning cooking ahead for the week, while B and the boys went kayaking.

Monday, January 4

After the boys finished their school work, we walked to the library, so I could do a blog update. For whatever reason, the Vero Beach library did not offer free wifi. I did not want to pay a $5 fee for a one year card just to use it one time, so we left.

We decided to hop on the free bus and go to the mall.  Once there, I got a good start on the blog, but was unable to finish before it was time to catch the last bus back to near where we were anchored.

Tuesday, January 5

While the boys did school on the boat, Brian and I went back to the mall so I could finish the update.  We shared a food court lunch and picked up a Redbox movie to bring back.  We chose the movie, War Room. It had been highly recommended in the Christian community, and was a good movie.

Wednesday, January 6

After school, we surprised the boys by taking them back to the mall to the movie theatre to see the new Star Wars movie.  We used our family gift card Brian's sister and her husband had given us for Christmas.

Thursday, January 7

Brian and I went on a long kayak while the boys did school on the boat.  On the way back we stopped by our friends' boats who are also members of our sailing club in New Bern. We invited everyone to a potluck dinner Friday evening.

Friday, January 8

The boys did school. Brian and I walked to Publix to get ingredients for our contribution to the potluck dinner.

That evening we met our friends in a covered picnic shelter at the marina for a feast of pasta, salad, garlic bread, chicken, mango, veggies, crackers and dip.  All of them would be leaving later in the month to cross over to the Bahama's for the winter.  It was a great evening with great friends.

John and Marcia Petersen, Tom and Ollie Foster, Doug Laurie

Saturday, January 9

After breakfast, we crossed the bridge and walked to the beach to go to the farmers market. It was very busy. We bought a bag of grapefruit, later learning we overpaid, but oh, well. Live and learn.  Then we went over to the beach.

We found a monster picnic table, we called the Kozel table.  The Kozel's are friends back in NC who are a family of 15.  This table easily sits 10 to a side, hence the name.

We decided to catch the bus and go to Burger King for lunch and then pick up a few things at Wal-Mart.

A while back I had signed up for an app called Shopkicks. You get points just for walking in certain stores, you get points for scanning certain item, and you get points for buying things.  After you get a certain number of points, you turn them in for a gift card.  I had close to 2,000 points, so Luke turned them into 2 $2 gift cards at Wal Mart.  The giftcard shows up on the phone and the cashier scans it to redeem it.

All that to say, we got free ice cream that day to enjoy, thanks to the shopkicks.

We picked up another Red Box movie for that evening. They didn't have the boys first choice, so they got the Minions movie.

Sunday, January 10

We did laundry off the back of the boat, while the older boys did water runs back and forth to the marina filling our water jugs to then pour into the water tanks of the boat.

We all walked to Publix to return the Red Box movie and had Pizza Hut Pizza for lunch.

Monday, January 11

Anchor up at 7:45am.  Leaving Vero Beach to continue a short distance south to Ft. Pierce. Anchor down at 10:10am  We anchored south of the bridge just outside of the Harbortown Marina.  The boys did a double day of school, so we could spend the next day at the library.

Tuesday, January 12

We dinghied to the city marina dock and went to the library.  That afternoon, Brian and I walked over to Hwy 1 and did a small provisioning shop. While shopping I had a great phone call from a close friend. It always makes my day when we get to talk.

After shopping we picked up the boys at the library and went back to the boat for dinner.

Wednesday, January 13

We woke up to a strange noise. Thinking one of the neighbor boats was running their generator, we tried to go back to sleep.  The noise continued, and it finally dawned on us, that it was OUR boat making the ruckus.

Brian figured out the bilge pump was running, and it wasn't supposed to be.  He trouble shot it and just had to do some rewiring. Thankfully he had everything he needed and did not have to make a trip to West Marine like he originally thought.

 The boys did school and we stayed on the boat all day.  In the afternoon, I dug out the sewing machine and did some much needed mending on several items.

Luke and Jacob made fried rice for dinner.

Thursday, January 14

Midmorning we pulled anchor to move closer to the library and dinghy dock.  That afternoon we stopped at the library and then all went on a reprovisioning trip to Deals, which is a giant Dollar Tree plus , and Publix.

We had an early dinner at Checkers, a little walk up burger place.  They had a special of $2 burger and fries.

Friday, January 15

Rainy day. Boys did school. We caught water in the kayak to do laundry the next day.

Saturday, January 16

Laundry in the morning, then family day in town.

One interesting thing about Ft. Pierce, is that there is a certain point where fresh water meets the ocean salt water, and they do not mix.  Pretty cool to see.

Sunday, January 17

The weather was windy and rainy. We just stayed on the boat and listened to church on the radio.

Monday, January 18

Time to move on.  Anchor up at 8:50 am. Anchor down at 12 :56pm at Peck Lake.  We enjoyed Peck Lake. We were able to anchor close to shore, so it was a short kayak to land. Once there, it is a short walk down a path to the ocean side.

While walking the beach we discovered a lot of Capri Sun drinks washed up high.  Brian and I grabbed what we could and took them back to the boat as a treat for the boys.  I think we got close to 50. We also found two unopened bottles of oil.

We figured they were part of the cargo ship that lost several shipping containers several weeks before.  When we were in Melbourne in December, we heard of two times people found coffee washed up and at another beach, bags of wine washed up.

Wednesday, January 20

We took the boys back in the morning and gathered up what we could. All told, we brought back 200+!

If you are ever a guest on board with us, your drinks are covered!

That afternoon, we pulled anchor and continued south.

On the way we passed Jupiter, FL.  They have a beautiful lighthouse.

We got to Lake Worth, FL at 5pm.

Thursday, January 21

We had been warned that the dinghy dock at the northern end of Lake Worth was not safe, even locking the dinghy, people had had thefts.

We learned there was an Aldi grocery store about 4 miles away, and needing to do a big shop, five of us donned our backpacks and Caleb taxied us to shore, then stayed on the boat while the rest of us went to town.

Six hours and 8 miles round trip later, we called him for a pick up. All of us were so loaded down, but we had fresh food! Brian bought us Little Caesars pizza for lunch on our walk back.

Friday, January 22

My load from the day before wasn't as heavy as most of the others, but it was enough to tweek my back.

Brian had gotten up to make coffee and was in the cock pit.  I got up and went to sit with him.  I asked him to bring me some coffee, then I started to feel sick and asked for the little bucket we keep in the cockpit for cleaning.

The next thing I know, he and Luke are picking me up off the floor and putting me back on a cushion. I had blacked out from the pain, I guess. I the process I had also crushed the little bucket, oops.

I spent the day mostly on my back sleeping or resting.  Luke made muffins for the family for breakfast. They made pb&j's for lunch and Caleb and Jacob made dinner.

It took a few days to totally get over it, but each day was an improvement over the one before.

Saturday, January 23

We decided to move a little further down, about 5 miles. The wind was crazy all day with regular gusts of 40-47mph.

Sunday, January 24

The boys worked on water runs and Brian changed the oil in the dinghy engine.

That afternoon, we decided to move back up a couple miles to be closer to the library.  The boys did school on Saturday when the weather was so bad, so they could have Monday off.

Monday, January 25

The boys and I walked two miles to the library.  They did their devices and I actually just sat and read a whole book. Not sure when the last time I was able to do that.  It was the new Debbie Macomber book, Silver Linings. Part of the Inn at Rose Harbor series.

Luke had downloaded a movie to his tablet that he had earned free money from the Google Store by taking occasional surveys.

Back at the boat, we had dinner and watched Indiana Jones.

While we were at the library, Brian had gone exploring in his kayak.  He was excited to show us Peanut Island.

Tuesday, January 26

After breakfast, we all loaded up in the dinghy and went over to Peanut Island. It was a great morning, walking all around and learning some of the history.

My favorite part was watching this manatee feeding.

Back at the boat, we pulled anchor once again and moved a few miles back south, to be closer to the Red Robin Restaurant.

Luke had gotten an email for a free birthday burger, so he and Brian walked the two miles for that.

Wednesday, January 27

Rain all day, non stop.  The boys had turned the kayaks right side up to catch water for laundry.  God did his part and both got full.

While the boys worked on school, Brian put on his swim trunks and decided to clean the decks in the rain.

After school we broke out the Monopoly game. Everyone played except Nathan. Of course Luke won, Luke always wins. His strategy is to buy the expensive properties and then put houses and hotels on them, thus bankrupting everybody, one at a time.

Thursday, January 28

Luke's 17th Birthday!!

Hard to believe our first born is 17.

His brothers gave him little gifts and Brian gave him some $.

For lunch, we picked up Checkers Burgers and Fries.

Dinner was homemade subs and apple pie.

Friday, January 29

The boys did school, Brian rode the bike 3.9 miles to get a propane cylinder refilled, and I did laundry with all that water God provided us with.

This afternoon the boys and I are at the library.

I think now we are just waiting for a weather window to go on the outside the 70 miles south to Miami.

This is the Lake Worth Inlet that we will go out.  It is right next to Peanut Island.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

December 2015 Melbourne, FL; Dad's Final Days

I covered the first week of December in the last blog post, so I will start this one with Sunday, December 6.

Sunday, December 6

Brian spent the day at the beach, while the boys and I went to my parents house. I worked on a blog update while Dad napped in his chair and Mom took the boys to look around at Bass Pro Shops and Wal-Mart.  Nathan bought the dvd of Mall Cop 2.

Monday and Tuesday, December 7-8

School in the mornings and an afternoon trip to the beach on Tuesday,

Wednesday, December 9

Mom picked me up and I went with her and Dad to a Dr. appointment for dad. He got a good report and scheduled another visit 3 months out.

Afterward Dad was hungry, so we stopped at a Mexican restaurant and had lunch together.  The busy morning and good lunch wore Dad out, so mom dropped me at the mall and then took dad home for a nap. She picked me up and we did some Christmas shopping.

Thursday, December 10

Last summer mom bought a new little shed for the back yard. The old one was falling apart and the doors would not stay in their tracks, and she just didn't feel safe going in it. She had someone come and hook up electricity to the new one, but asked Brian and the boys to run new waterline to it and dismantle the old shed when we were down for Christmas.

The time had finally come for the project to begin.
Mom and Dad picked up Brian, Luke, Jacob and Caleb after breakfast and they got right to work.

Luke and Brian worked on digging new trench for the waterline. Jacob and Caleb emptied out the old shed and sorted the junk from the good stuff, then started to dismantle the old shed.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, December 11-13

They all went back again the next day to keep working. That evening Nathan and I joined them and all the boys stayed over night.

Saturday morning, Brian and I got up early and walked to the beach to watch the sunrise.

Then we went to Dollar General to do some reprovisioning.  After storing everything back on the boat, we walked 5 miles to the Chinese Buffet for a late lunch. From there we walked a couple miles to Mom and Dad's.

The boys had put together shelving units in the the new shed the night before and had spent the morning filling them.

The boys spent another night with Grandma and Grandpa.

Brian and I spent most on Sunday on the boat. Mom brought the boys back and we went to the beach for a walk.  Back on the boat, we played Dutch Blitz, a fun card game our great friends, The Hardee's had sent us.

Monday-Saturday, December 14-19

Each morning the boys did school. In the afternoons they helped Brian remove, clean and install new port lights and hatches.  The old ones were crazed, meaning all scratched up. There is a company in Melbourne called Austin Industries that manufactured new at a fraction of the cost to order online.

Brian and Mom got to spend a lot of time together in the car going back and forth dropping off old window templates and picking up new.

During times I needed to shop or Brian needed to run errands, we had one of the boys do their school at the house and sit with Grandpa, so he would not be alone.  I am so proud of all my guys for stepping in to just be there so mom could taxi us around.

Saturday, two boats from our club in New Bern were scheduled to be coming through Melbourne on the ICW, on their way south.  We asked them to stop and invited them over for dinner. They graciously anchored nearby and we all had a fun evening together.

Mark and Karen from S/V Sea Vu Play, Joe and Kathy from S/V Tarsie

The rest of this post will be detailing my Dad's final days. I am forever grateful that God timed our visit to enable us to be here during this time and for Brian pushing for his dream of living on a boat and cruising. That also enabled us to have an extended visit and be there for mom during this time.

Before being discharged from the hospital back on December 2, they wanted to give Dad a flu shot.  Dad wanted it, thinking he was still a volunteer at the hospital and it was required. I cringed, but kept my mouth shut. We had just requested discharge to honor Dad's wishes not to have anything done, so I had to honor his wishes to get the flu shot.

All that to say, that Saturday and Sunday, he wasn't feeling well. We just thought it as a cold or mild case of the flu from the shot. I told mom to pick him up some Alkaseltzer, what he always took while I was growing up.  She did and it really got to work. They had breakfast at home, which was rare. Dad Loved to go to Eddie's Sunrise Diner and have biscuits and gravy almost every morning. We had encouraged mom to make something at home, still thinking he just had a bad cold and did not want to spread germs to their friends at the diner.

It was creating so much drainage, he was miserable.  He asked her to take him to the Urgent Care Center.  She did on Monday morning. They did a breathing test, then requested they go tot he ER for another test, which only the hospital had the equipment for.

Mom called me before they left for the ER letting me know.  Brian dropped me off at the base of the bridge and I walked to the hospital.  When I arrived, they had just brought him back from the test and were waiting for the results.

Dad was laying on his side int he bed in the ER. He asked for some water so we asked a nurse to get him some, which she did. He kept fiddling with the heart moniter on his finger.  I had to get back to the boat before dark, and I didn't want mom to leave dad to take me, so I left around 4 to start the walk back.

Sometime that evening they admitted Dad  to  the heart center of the hospital.

Tuesday morning Caleb dropped Brian and I off at the base of the bridge and then went back to do school with his brothers.

Brian and I walk to the hospital and spent the day in the room with mom.

When we got there they had just  brought him back from a CAT scan and a Physical Therapist was getting him settled in bed. She had tried to have him move from the bed to a recliner chair that was right next to the bed, but Dad didn't have the strength. He was alert and eating well when they brought him food that day. He was on oxygen and the meds to drain fluid from around his heart.

He had two great nurses, Heather and Allie. Heather especially took the extra time to explain things to us.

The breathing test from the day before was to check for blood clots in his lungs.  The test came back negative, which we took to be good news.  The hospital seemed not so excited.  If he had had blood clots, they could give him something to dissolve them.  since he did not, they were not sure what exactly was causing his breathing trouble.

At some point in the day, I called my brother, Shaun, to let him know Dad was back in the hospital. He had been planning to come down and visit on Wednesday with his wife and one of his sons. He decided to still come the next day, just to the hospital and not the house.

He was feeling good! So good, he thought he needed to go home, no need for the hospital anymore. In his dementia, he kept trying to swing his leg out of bed to get up and go feed the chickens and hogs on the farm, in Oklahoma, where he had grown up.  Each of us kept reassuring him that it was taken care of, the neighbors would feed and do chores tonight, Brian and I would go do it...  He wasn't having it. HE had to do it.  There were 200 chickens and 500 hogs, the number of birds and value of hogs went up each time he tried to get out of bed.
200, 500, 900 chickens. The hogs,he kept saying were something on the hoof. They were valued in his mind at over $20,000. He said if they got out because they were hungry, he didn't have enough money to replace them. He HAD to feed them!    He told me a couple of times how you had to be careful though going to the pen. As soon as they knew food was coming, they would charge the gate and you would have to do two back flips to get out of their way.

He would swing a leg out of bed and each of us would say, "You need to stay in bed."  He was so polite, "I appreciate all your doing, but I Have to go do the chores." When he got really frustrated and out of patience , he told the nurse, who we had called in to help keep him in bed, "LADY!" and then repeat, "I appreciate all your doing..."

All the while we kept reassuring him it was taken care of, one time he called me out on it, "WHO? is going to do it?"  The next day I realized I should have told him Shaun, my brother was doing chores.

As a last ditch effort, he asked me, then Brian to just go down to the pick up truck in the parking lot, and bring him his overalls and shirt.  He promised the nurse he would come right back to the hospital after doing his chores.

The nurses ended up giving him 1 1/2 tablets of Atavan to settle him down.

About 5pm they came to take him down for an MRI.  We debated the necessity of it, but in the end, they did take him down for the test.

A little while later, 3 people charged into the room.  It was the two nurses and the floor charge nurse.  The head nurse said, " There is no easy way to say this, but Richard fell off the gurney in the MRI dept."

They could not do the MRI anyway, apparently Dad had a piece of metal in one eye. We, especially Mom had never heard of such a thing. Dad never said anything and his eye doctors never said anything, he had never complained of any pain in his eye.  He had had his glasses on when he fell and they had gotten broken.

Soon they brought Dad back, sore and groggy.  They put a heat pack on his back, but that soon made him too hot.  He doctor ordered x-rays, but they never did them.

We left soon after they got him settled back in bed.

Wednesday, December 23

Mom picked up all of us after breakfast.  We dropped the boys off at their house to do some laundry and cleaning for Christmas.  They said they would see Grandpa another time, when we offered to bring them to the hospital and then they could walk back to the house later.

The night before, the hospital had called Mom and told her that they were going to have a sitter in the room with Dad. It was a precaution in case he tried to get out of bed again. She was totally fine with that.  All of his stay, he wore a bracelet stating he was a fall risk.

Once at the hospital, we went up to his room and discovered they had moved him in the night.  We found the new room and were shocked when we walked in.

Dad could hardly talk and when he did it was very garbled and and hard to understand.  He did not have much of an appetite.  The day before I had promised him that I would bring him biscuits and gravy for breakfast. I did, and he ate a bite or two.

He was having trouble swallowing, so they put him on thickened liquids, like honey water, and thickened tea, apple sauce,etc.  The doctor also ordered some swallow test, but it never got administered.

When the Dr. came on his rounds, we talked to him in the hallway about Hospice. He agreed and that started the process.  The Hospice social worker came and visited with us about options. Mom did not feel comfortable about caring for him at home, where she would be the main caregiver and a hospice nurse would come a few time a week.  The Hospice nurse would come and evaluate him later in the day to see if he qualified for the Hospice House down in Palm Bay.  He qualified, and Mom was relieved to hear that Medicare would cover all expenses. Brian and Mom went down to sign paper work. We were told that after getting the medicines delivered to the hospice house they could transfer Dad within a 4 hour window.

I could not believe how fast things were moving.  My sister in KS had been on and off the phone with Mom all day, and she asked me to send her a picture of Dad.

That afternoon, some friends of Mom and Dad's came to visit. Noah and Mary Lou live in the same park.  He played his harmonica and sang
hymns and Christmas Carols.

Dad really enjoyed it. Before they left, we gathered around the bed and Noah led us in prayer.

Soon after my brother, sister-in-law and nephew arrived.  I am sure they were shocked to see the condition Dad was in. We visited and just sat with Dad.

Dad was freezing to the touch, but he kept throwing off his covers and asking for the fan. His socks were off, but he asked each of us at one time or another to take them off.  His speech was improving to be a little more understandable. He called people by name. When Mom was out signing papers, he would ask where Sherelyn was.  When she came back he kept looking to her and asked if it was time to go home yet.  She just smiled at him and said not yet.

At 8pm the transport came for Dad.  We left shortly after and went to the Hospice House. When we were able to go back and see Dad, he was snuggled in bed and was on oxygen.  All afternoon he had been so restless. It was so nice to see him in  a relaxed state.  We didn't stay long. We each said goodnight and that we would see him in the morning.  We fully expected to be making the trip to see him each day for the next weeks/months.

A little after 4am Thursday morning, the phone rang.  Mom calling to say that Dad had passed.  He wasn't in Hospice even 7 hours.

I called my brother. He made plans to come to Moms house about mid morning to begin sorting things and planning.  He got there about 10:30. We emptied the filing cabinets and began sorting. 

Shaun, Mom, Brian and I went to the funeral home at 1pm. Dad had wanted to be creamated. Mom chose a simple wooden box for him.

Christmas day my brother and his family came over for Christmas lunch. We ate and reminised about Dad. Brian took them out to the boat for a tour.  They went home soon after.

Sunday afternoon the pastor of Mom's church came and met with us to plan a service for Wednesday afternoon.

The following days were used to continue cleaning and sorting, fixing little things around the house. Replacing the doorbell button, new batteries in the smoke detector, Brian and the boys, with Shaun replaced the hot water heater.

The neighbors were so kind in bringing foods over.

Wednesday came, and the service was perfect.  The pastor presented the gospel, a friend/neighbor sang a fitting song, Shaun gave a wonderful eulegy recapping Dad's long, full life of service to his Lord and fellow man.

My nephew, Andrew, designed the programs.

Brian's dad, Rodger, sent a beautiful bouquet from all of  the Brooks side of the family.

After the service, we got a photo of Mom and the McLaury/Brooks men.

We all miss Dad, but know he is in Heaven with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and we will all see him again one day.