Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Father's Day

New Chair for Russ...

Debbie bought Russ a comfy recliner chair that can also lift him. We put it in the kitchen area as that is where everyone always is and that way he can come and hang out and be comfortable as well and see what is going on. He didn't want it at first because of how much it was going to cost ( ha ha such a Russ thing) and then once he got it and sat in it he loved it and is so glad to have it.

It has been so good to have for so many reasons. It helps us be able to get him up and down way easier. Moving him is the hardest part and this just helps with it all. We have had to tell all the kids that this is not a toy (ha)...mind you I think all of the adults have sat in it and tried it out a few times.

Friday June 19 2009- Family support for Russ

Everyone came up to visit Russ Father's Day weekend since this will be his last. We had arranged for a photographer to take some family pictures on Saturday June 20 for us. On the Friday before Russ was sitting in the kitchen and I was visiting with him. I was explaining to him what was going to happen on Saturday with the family pictures and all. He wasn't to thrilled about getting the pictures done he said as he said he looks awful and doesn't want to be remembered this way. I told him we loved him no matter how he looked and we all wanted these pictures as they would be so special.

I told Kent and the rest of the family about our conversation and the boys all started concocting a plan to help ease Russ's mind. They (Kent, Gary and Jeff) decided that them and their sons would all buzz their heads for there Dad to support him so he wouldn't be the only one with hardly any hair in the family pictures. The guys were so excited about this and had a great time doing it. Russ had no idea this was going on. When they were all done they came in and showed him and he was THRILLED when he saw them all. He had tears and was said he couldn't believe they did this for him.

Jeff and his son Logan getting their hair cut

They took turns cutting each others hair they had a great time making funny hair cuts with each others hair. So if you look closely at the pics you will see some pretty ridiculous hair dos (ha ha).

Kent, Tyson and Cole getting their hair cut.

The men had the most fun doing this. Good thing they did it outside! Nothing is done quietly when all the Stanford boys are together =)

Gary and his son Roel having their turn

The finished product!

I was so proud of the guys for coming up with this idea and being for their Dad and Papa like this. It made his day and helped him feel better.

At this time this was all who was their...later that night Mike and his family arrived and him and his son got their hair done as well.

Mike and his son Mac having their turn

When Saturday finally did arrive and everyone started arriving to our home for pictures whoever didn't have their heads shaved were given a hard time. So Niki's husband Darren got his cut as well (even though he had just paid to have his hair cut the day before...same with Mike and Mac) Darren's baby Lucas is already bald so he didn't need a shave =) Sheri's boys arrived and they too got their hair cut. Sheri's husband Mike was the only one who didn't get his hair cut out of all the guys in the family...he said he is growing his hair for cancer.

It was an amazing sight to see all of these guys and their boys with their heads shaved. Once the pictures were all done Russ told the photographer he wanted one more picture taken with with all the guys and their sons who had gotten their heads shaved. It was so neat!

The family pictures went well and I can't wait to get them back. We were SO worried how Russ would handle getting these pics done as it involved SO much to get him ready and then moving him to get them done. PLUS the time it takes to get the pics taken...the smallest things drain him VERY quickly! We found a location in Crossfield so we didn't have to take him very far. He was a trooper and he did very well. BUT, he was totally bagged by the time it was all done.

I kept having to walk away when they were doing just the main Stanford family pics (siblings with Russ and Deb). I kept tearing up as seeing them all together like that knowing this was going to be their most treasured picture. My heart strings were being tugged pretty hard and I am such an emotional person to begin with. SO thankful we were able to get these pics taken.

The photographer said she should have them ready within a couple of weeks. So I should be hearing from her by Saturday, July 4th.

Russ has been having a few more seizures lately. So the Dr has decided to keep him on his steroids (they were weaning him off of them as he was done the radiation and that was part of what they were for). They are helping keep the seizures some what under control so they are going to leave him on them so he can have a better quality of life. They are also good as it helps him have an appetite.

Jade's Dance recital

Jade in her dance outfit and her flowers that her Dad had given her after her reciteal

My niece Jade had her first dance recital the morning before our family pictures were to be taken. OH MY GOSH it so fun to see her in her outfit and all done up! Her recital was so cute and she did a great job. I was a VERY proud Auntie watching her on the stage. When she came out with her dance group on the stage tears came rolling down my cheeks...I couldn't get over how grown up she looked and how dang cute she was! Seeing Jade do this has made me SO excited for when Brynley can do it. I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Father's Day...I am so ticked with myself as you will never believe what I didn't do...that is right, I forgot to take a picture of Kent with our kids. I am so ticked off with myself! I had a lot going on that day and it slipped my mind...I am not happy about that!

Saturday morning I came in the kitchen and here was Bryn cuddling with her cute!

Niki, Deb and Jeff laying on Deb's SINGLE bed (ha)...they look so uncomfortable, but they were having a good time =) And Sheri sitting in Russ's wheel chair while they were all in Deb and Russ's room visiting.

In the picture you can see we got Russ a hospital bed. We were having a hard time getting him in and out of a regular bed so we decided this was what we needed to help us out with moving him. It is motorized and does whatever a regular hospital bed can do. Poor Deb has to sleep on a single bed now as that is all that can fit in the room with Russ new bed. She never complains and she is such a trooper.

Once we were done family pics we all headed back to our place to eat and spend time together. Russ requested pizza for Father's Day pizza is what we did!

Roel and Isla eating together
Everyone eating and visiting. Our kitchen and dining room are one big area so it is a good set up when there are lot's of people around like this.

Monday, June 22 2009- Russ and Deb went down to Lethbridge in their friends motor home for the week. Mike (Kent's brother) took the week off to help Russ be able to accomplish his "wish list" of things he wanted to do while they were there. He grew up down in Cardston and plus he has most of his siblings and his Mom down there as well.

His list included:
Going to Waterton
Going to the farm land where he grew up
Going to the Temple
Visiting with his Mother and siblings
Going camping

We were very worried how he was going to handle doing all of this. But the home care worker recommended that he should go if that is what he wanted to do. You have to understand (mind you no one really can until they have taken care of someone like this...) it is quite the ordeal to get Russ up and moving during the day let alone go on a trip. Just getting him up to use the bathroom exhausts him. He can't do anything for himself anymore remember so it takes a lot to do things and get them done for him and with him...BUT it was well worth it in the end as he was SO happy to be able to do all of these things. Somehow he managed to pull up all the strength and energy he could so he could do it all.

Thank you to Mike and Megan for all you did to help make this happen for Russ. He came back grinning ear to ear and had stories to tell us. Also to Neal and Donna Quinton as well for driving them around in their motor home and being so gracious and such good friends to Deb and Russ. You guys are wonderful!

I have to say we had major "Russ and Deb with drawl" while they were gone. Even Tyson would go and lay on Deb's bed and say, "Moooommmmmm, when are they going to be back!" And they he would just lay there and hang out in there room. Brynley's room is right next to there room so usually when we walk by they are in there and she will lean out of my arms and peak her head in there room and smile and wave. Since they have been gone she does the same thing...leans in there but no one is there and she just has this blank look on her face and looks at me like where did they go!

You would think we would have welcomed having a break while they were gone...but to be honest we really did miss them =) They were only gone from Monday till Thursday evening...but it seemed much longer to us =)

Baby Knee pads (highly recommended)...we have slate floors so I knew once Brynley started to crawl we were going to have an issue with her little knees. So I found this place that sells these baby knee pads...hilarious I know, but they have done wonders for her.

The knee pads look so cute on her as her legs are so chubby. Getting them on her takes a bit of effort =) She doesn't mind them at all. She is SO busy now and we are not used to having to watch like this. So she is keeping us VERY busy to say the least!

Lot's of of Sunday, June 28th 2009 There has been a lot of things happening and I am SO behind in my posts. Russ is now in the hospital and he will stay in the hospital until they can get him into hospice.

Saturday evening he started coughing very violently and then he was choking as he coughed and then had a hard time breathing as his coughing was on and on and on. Poor Deb was terrified that he was going to choke to death and came and got us up around 5 am. We helped sit him up and gave him some water. This lasted through the night and into the morning. The home care nurse came to assess him and recommended we take him into the hospital.

He is needing 24 hour care by nurses and staff who know what they are doing and who can assist him in ways we no longer can at home. There have been lot's of tears as this has been a VERY hard decision. BUT in the end it is what is best for Russ so he isn't hurting or suffering and they can help him.

Hospice is a place where Family can just be FAMILY! It is more like a hotel setting and he gets his own room and we can make it as comfy as he wants it to be. They encourage family to be there as often as they want. They even have a dining room and kitchen area so you can have parties and what not. Anyone can stay there with him if they would like and we can still help with whatever we would like to help with. It will be so nice knowing he is getting taken care of when we can't be there and also that he has 24 hour professional help with him when needed.

Russ of course wasn't to thrilled about going into a hospice...neither are we as we would rather have him home with all of us...but it just isn't possible anymore! He just doesn't think he is needing to go to one yet and says, "hospices are for people who are dying!" It is so hard to have to explain things to him and really this is making him have to face where he is at health wise. He has a lot of hope and he of course wants to live. He says there is just so much he wanted to do still.

Tuesday, June 30th 2009...I tell ya it has been an emotional past few days. We went up to see Russ last night to say goodbye. We are heading down to Utah to be with my family for a couple of weeks. We have really struggled with should we go or shouldn't we...Deb has insisted we go and have fun with the kids. I am terrified Russ may pass away while we are gone...but Kent seems to be really calm and at peace with going and he too insists we go so we can have some time as a family. We took the kids up with us and had a good visit.

I rubbed lotion on his head (it is one of my jobs when I am around...I love doing it for him!) Brynley loves her Papa...whenever we are around him she will lean out of our arms towards him and she just babbles away to him and smiles from ear to ear at him. We will take her over to him and lean down and she gives him kisses and Russ kisses her back. Over and over she does this with JUST HIM! It is so tender to see and watch her with him. I truly believe this precious baby girl knows what is going on with her Papa. And with her being so small and so new to the world still I think she can feel what is to come. She is loving him through this just like we all are and Russ thinks it is great that she has bonded with him like that.

Ken and Sandy Prepchuk (good family friends)

they have known Deb and Russ for a long time. They were up visiting them at the hospital last night. It was so good to see them and catch up.

Kent and the kids saying goodbye Papa

I am bawling as I type this as I don't know how we are going to go on this trip and be away from Russ so is hurting my heart knowing it will be a while or who knows what will happen while we are gone. Walking by their room yesterday and seeing it empty was a hard reality that Russ is no longer going to be staying with us anymore in our home. We are SO going to miss having him here everyday and taking care of him. But we will still be able to help out wherever he just won't be same.

I don't know if I have already said this but if I have I am going to say it again. It has been such a tender and amazing thing to watch these Stanford boys take care of the Father. Nothing is fazing them with all they have to help Russ do...and they do it with such love. Watching Kent with his Dad has amazed me and has just proven what I already knew...he is WONDERFUL and has the best heart! Kent and his Dad have really bonded since they have been living with us. Kent is such a good example to his boys!

People think the Stanford Family are a crazy bunch...but let me tell you...they are there for each other when needed unlike anything I have ever seen or experienced before! I love this family and I am so very thankful to be a part of it =)

I will update this as soon as I can...



Janay said...

Beautiful post Barb. I am so glad my parents could come and visit. Love you guys!!

cheetah said...

and now I am crying too! The post started out so great! But life keeps happening right? I just love hearing about the way you all take care of Russ.
Have fun in Utah!

Bobbi-Jo said...

Wow - so much to comment on! I'm so impressed by how everyone pulls together so much during times like these. You are keeping a beautiful record here, even though it must be difficult. Thank you for doing this and it's so obvious the love you all have for one another. Our thoughts and prayers are with you!

Erica said...

You're not the only one with the tears now. I love what all the guys did for Russ-that is AMAZING. It shows how well they were raised and that they will pass that respect and love on to their children. I just can't imagine how difficult this is for all of you. Hang in there Barb.
On a different note-I love the knee pads-SO clever. I didn't get a pic of Joe with the kids on Father's Day either as I took 10 min of video that the disc then rejected. Stupid machine. Ah well.
Hope you enjoy your vacation and I want you to know that I think of you and this whole situation often, always with a prayer in my heart.

Lynn said...

I agree with Bobbi! What an AWESOME record you are keeping here.

I bawled my eyes out when I read about all the boys shaving their hair off. I absolutely think they are VERY handsome! Every SINGLE one of them!!! They radiate love and charity. Just beautiful!

I hope you are having a WONDERFUL time together as a family on your holiday. We just got back from visiting with mine and the first thing I did was jump on this thing for an update from you. : D

Thanks for keeping us posted. Send Russ our love too when you get home.