Who is Orange Sink?

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My home town is Rice Lake, a small town in northern Wisconsin. I own Red House Wool Studio~ an in-home wool and rug hooking business. I enjoy collecting and decorating with antiques and primitives. Orange Sink Blog is a journal of my interests and ramblings about life. Cathy Greschner

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Rest In Peace Sweet Mom

My Wonderful Mom
November 14, 1930 ~~ August 12, 2016

Shirley Hoeft Johnston
Survived by children, Cathleen (David) Greschner  Rice Lake, WI
Ronald ( Virginia) Johnston  New Trier, MN
Tracy (Lillian) Johnston  Cameron, WI
Gail (James) Mussehl   Cameron, WI
Michelle (Wes) Sweeney   Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Sister Sharon ( Richard) Brogan  Eau Claire, WI
Brother Randy Hoeft, Milwaukee, WI

Oh so hard.... but knowing she is at peace,  her pain and suffering over, is helping me to cope with losing her.  THANK YOU all from the bottom of my heart for your kind kind words on my last post! It means the world to me and your prayers and comments are so deeply appreciated! 

Cathy G

Thursday, August 11, 2016

When Morphine and iPhone Are Your Best Friends

Hello dear friends and readers.  Since my last post there have been so many changes here in my life and of course for my dear Mom whose life on this earth we expect is only days now and perhaps less.  It seems an eternity since I held her arm and we walked into the ER on July 9th.  The kind Dr. on call that evening was so on target when he said, "Your mother is in the final stages of congestive heart failure."  He added emphatically, "Your job will be to keep her comfortable... " Yes, indeed. It seems every waking moment in my life and countless other people has been to see to it that she is not in pain and as comfortable as one could possibly be as the fluids build up in her body and the heart is struggling to keep the life blood flowing. It has been heart wrenching to watch to say the least.
There have been many bright spots though these past few weeks. The most significant one being the joining together of my siblings, two brothers and two sisters, making the choice to keep and care for mom at home. We've all set aside past grievances and hard feelings to take on this enormous task. 
So very proud of them all... as I watch them transfer her from wheelchair to commode. Leave the next day to their jobs after a sleepless night with a restless mom who is awake all night and decides to get out of bed on her own.  My niece, Alicia, who has been here several days and nights and leaves to take care of a family of three children. 
Hospice. Well, I cannot say enough for our program here with it's countless volunteers, nurses, and a Dr. who made a house call here day before yesterday.
Our every need is met from wheelchair, to hospital bed and medications delivered right to our door. 
Even with all the endless help, for which I'll be forever grateful, I feel like I've been floating in a bubble of pill bottles, phone calls, decisions upon decisions and now recently the bottle of morphine which has become our best friend as it's the only thing that is helping our dear mom with her struggle. I've had to overcome preconcieved notions that this drug is meant to hasten death when in reality death is hastening all on its own. The drug comforts. The Dr. who made the housecall recently said to us, "Morphine will be your best friend." 
Oh, and one more thing... I mentioned the iPhone in my blogpost's title as a best friend too. A couple of days ago I upgraded my iPhone 5s to a brand new iPhone 6s. I now enjoy the hotspot which enables my laptop to work anywhere through my phone. Still learning all the 6s has to offer. During these past few weeks with sibings, doctors, nurses, relatives, hospice people and just Dave and I  trying to coordinate our lives around being full time caregivers, I managed to go over my alloted texting and talking time on my old iPhone.  To the tune of $300.00 or so!! Yikes!  That was a lot of texting and talking!  But our entire family has stayed well connected and organized beyond belief. 
Can't imagine this happening in the days before texting!


Well... I started writing this post a couple of hours ago. 
How fast things change.  Mom is suddenly showing signs that she will be leaving us very soon. 
Not sure how to end this... but asking for your prayers for a peaceful and painless transition for our beautiful mom.  A place of untold beauty and joy certainly awaits her precious soul.
No more suffering, sickness and pain.

Cathy G

Sunday, July 17, 2016

From the Heart of a Caregiver

This morning was the breaking point for me.  I've taken care of my mother now for over seven years, ever since she had heart surgery in 2009.   There have been good times, yes.  Times I shall cherish forever and ever.  I wouldn't change a minute of times we've spent together.  Including last saturday night in the ER of Marshfield Medical Center.  All seven hours of it.  It ended with me taking her home and being told by the Dr. on call that "your mother is in the final stages of this Congestive Heart Failure.  There's nothing good at all about her situation. Nothing good at all" he stated again. Exept for the fact she has you as her daughter."  I sat stunned... perhaps because this prognosis was coming from a Dr. that had not seen either one of  us before but had taken time to read my mother's records.  I suppose each Dr. visit, hospital stay, countless waits in waiting rooms, offices, phone calls, trips to pharmacies, grocery stores, trips back and forth to her house, endless days and nights taking care of her every need and care shone through on those records.  Finally a Dr. in the system took the time to care about the caregiver.  Cared enough to spend a few minutes at 1:00 am in the quiet hall of an Emergency Care Center to recognize how it was my mother had even made it this far in life with all she's been through.

A week has past since that long evening we spent in the ER.  Hospice/ Home health care is helping us now.  Sadly my mother's conditon is deteriorating rapidly.  The past 4 days or so I've felt a kind of hopelessness and inadequacy about my role as nurse, medication dispenser, 24 hour a day presense required for her care. Not only that but I am totally physically and mentally wiped out.  I woke up this morning and the tears started flowing.  For the first time... I actually let tears flow.  Trouble is now all day they have come in torrents off and on.  The realization that this may be out of my hands and that mom may have to  be moved to a facility has pulled the rug out from beneath me.

This huge change in life at the end of her life will rip my heart out.  It has already been broken and I struggle now to keep some kind of strength about me to go through this.

Every one will say it's for the better.  That may be so.  The better for all who've not really been involved on an hourly, daily, yearly basis.  Maybe there's not the same thought process from those who've decided to show up for visits this past weekend after seven years of mom living in her own home and needing visits desperately.  I'm just saying.  Time escapes us all. It has a way of turning precious moments into years. Caregivers can tell you that.  Caregivers will tell you too that when the time eventually runs out for the one they've cared for... they will have NO regrets. That they would have done nothing different.  "For the better" perhaps in the end for some.  But the  caregiver would keep on giving.... if it were physically, mentally and emotionally possible. I bet they would all tell you that.                                                           Cathy G

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Smash Hit Garden Junk Sale and another "smash hit"

Our Garden Junk Sale went off without a hitch!  The crowds came, bought and compl
imented us on the great displays and merchandise!  What more could we ask?  Now the plan is to have another Pop-Up sale in the Fall at a soon to be disclosed location!  
The added bonus of having our sale here this last week was that our garage FINALLY is cleaned and organized!  We painted a wall black and I free-hand painted some lovely birch trees in one corner!  
Here are some random photos of the sale.... and if you reach the end of this post you'll find out the other "smash hit" I took this week....

Here is a photo from yesterday I took of my two fur babies Smokey and Max with Lizzy our beloved groomer and dear friend.  She has been a god send in our lives and makes the grooming so much more pleasant for the boys and I!  We have been going to her for the last 3 years or so and of course I showed you Lizzy's house in an earlier post of her Halloween decor.  Well we got some bad news this week from Liz that she is going to retire  from grooming at the end of the year..... I am devasted  at the news but totally understand her reasons. She is taking care of elderly parents as I am.  Life gets so complicated and sometimes we have to weigh the priorities.  We love her and want the best for her. My doggies are going to be 14 years old this Fall and grooming is very hard on them.  We are treated special when we go to Liz' and I am able to stay and visit when she grooms them.  She only takes one client at a time and that works so well for us.
So time will tell what we will do... but we get two more groomings before she hangs it up.
A "smash hit" of the negative kind for sure.... and as long as I'm talking about the not so fun things I thought I'd mention I get to have a tooth pulled tomorrow!  What a perfect way to end the month of June!  NOT! 
But it has to be done.... and just maybe while I'm recuperating I can actually pick up my rug hook and finish a rug for a client that I started a few weeks ago! 
Looking forward to July!

Cathy G

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Our Hook-in Today Here at the Studio~ And a mystery rug video!

Mystery Rug Video

Our Hook-in today at the Red House Wool Studio!  Betsy brought some vintage rugs which we all had fun trying to figure out what they used to hook them!   Enjoy the video!  If anyone would like to chime in with what you think the  rug is made from please do so!  My personal opinion is wool... but I'm no expert!

Progress is being made on the garage, the sale and my Mom's deck!  Will try to post pics soon!

Hugs to all!

Cathy G