Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Dear Mom

I love you so much. Thank you for wanting me and holding me and supporting me through everything I ever wanted to do. You deserve so much more than what life has given you. We will find you strength to make this journry worth the while.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Update on Mr. Penny

Mr Penny went to the hospital a few days ago. They think he has cancer in his neck and has already started chemo. I think he is doing better. He says he feels better anyway...that could be the drugs talking!

In a letter to my mom this is what I wrote about Penny:

We went to the hospital to see Mr. Penny yesterday. The first time we went was earlier in the day and he was WAY doped up and could hardly acknowledge us. I got a few laughs out of him that assured me, despite his appearance, he was doing ok. I said, "You just came here to watch tv, didn't you and he mumble a recognizable tone that meant, "no way." Then we teased him about "cleaning out his apartment" and getting the good stuff like the armoire and again he laughed before passing back out.

We went back in the evening and he was snoring away. His concerned doctor saw us and made sure we were where we needed to be and not causing trouble. He woke up Mr. Penny for us since we didn't have the heart to. Penny told us he had chemo therapy yesterday and would have it again today. They think he has cancer in his neck that caused the loss of movement in he right arm.

He's feeling much better in the hospital. Naturally, since he is being properly taken care of and eating correctly. He loves how nice everyone is to him and how often they give him ice cream. He constantly gives them a hard time about the bill. He teased me, telling me he told the nurse to give the bill to me. I said, "Good luck getting that paid!"

Life sucks and then you die.

I am over being in shock. I am done crying for now. I still think about it every day and wonder how we are going to get through this. I wish I could tell you what "this" is but it's not time yet. Not enough is known to be able to talk about it. There are a million thoughts going through my head wondering my this had to happen to me, to us. You always think, it will never happen to you. It exsists in a world that doesn't belong to you until it actually happens. Please send good thoughts and prayer in my direction. And if you see someone in my family, give them a big hug! They might not admit it but they need it. I need it.

Today, I am up but when I was down I felt so incredibly alone. I don't have many friends and usually I am ok with that but where was the shoulder to cry on when I needed it. I had no where to go and no one to turn to. People always say they are there for you until... I don't want to always have to tell someone that I need them. I don't want to have to hunt them down to say, "Please can I have a hug, life just kicked me in the ass."

We're moving soon, probably to Lawrence, if my parents don't want to take us in again (only kidding). Maybe my Topeka friends will find that the drive is easier for them and will want to be around me again. They always say, "Distance makes the heart grow fonder." Let me tell you, that isn't always the case.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The moral is...Don't live in the ghetto if you ever want the police to help you.

I came home on Friday night from Topeka. I was getting sick and I needed lots of sleep because I had to work the next morning. I pulled in at 8:20 and James was there waiting to help me carry some stuff upstairs. As we were locking up the car James says, "Wait...," Looking around confused. I thought he was being silly.

He said, "Where's Neal's van?"

Seeing that the van was gone I said, "Harrison probably has it."

"Harrison is out of town.(Silence)Before we jump to conclusions, I'll call Neal and see if he let his kids borrow it."

Nope. Neal didn't let his kids take it. As James was talking ont he phone, I saw the blinds in the window of the office blowing in the wind. The screen had been removed and the window had been opened.

When we went inside the office, not much had been taken out of it's place except the keys to Neal's van and the file containing $1300.

We sat waiting for the police to arrive. After an hour of waiting James called dispach again. They said that there weren't any officers available. No one had even picked up the call yet. Our status was "pending." Another hour went by.

It's now 10:30 and I haven't eaten dinner yet. We decided to go upstairs and watch from our apartment. About 1/2 an hour later an officer arrived. He had just arrived on shift and seemed very new to the force.

I couldn't believe how long it took. I feel even safer now living there!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Update on Mr. Penny

I visited with Mr Penny last night. His frail body was slumped over like he couldn't move. Through our talk, he eventually made his way into more of a sitting position from what his napping position.

His brain is still sharp. He slips up every once and while and has trouble talking and then he'll say, "Quit stuttering," to himself and just keep pn trucking.

He had to call me over this morning to get him some breakfast. I noticed something I hadn't noticed before. There are jars and cups filled with a thin yellow liquid. It's so sad.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Leroy Penny

March 30, 2005 My journal reads:

Mr. Penny- An old man with dark skin and dark hair that is highlighted by his silvery age. A former government employee, he spends his day getting drunk, talking to people as they pass by. He doesn't like Joe and let him and everyone else know it. Joe thinks he's joking. He stopped James and me yesterday to announce that we were going to be living across the hall from him. He demanded that there would be no loud music, no drinking and no partying. I said, " Why is it ok for you to drink, but not ok for us?" Naturally, he was to busy making jokes to answer the question.

From what I gather, he used to walk a lot. His small, frail body reflects that. It seems he had a stroke in his sleep one night and lost most of his functions of his dominant hand. His spirits are high (although I am told they aren't always).

June 29, 2005 My journal reads:

Mr. Penny- A man that reminds me of home. He represents kindness and family and truth. He's the kind of person you don't mind listening to, even when you are running late. He has great stories to tell, he's always good for a laugh, although, I don't see him smile much.

He's going down hill pretty quickly. He'd never admit it though. He appreciates being thought of and checked in on but refuses any "help." He won't hesitate to ask for a soda when his meds are making his mouth dry.

He sits in his cluttered apartment of 16 years, listening to the radio. He never goes into his bedroom. He has lived in the building since it was built. He knows stories no one else knows, like, why there is a huge dip in my living room floor.

I want to move so badly because of the consistent knocking on our door. Now, I don't want to because I know I have a neighbor, a friend, and a grandpa type figure to look after me right across the hall. The day I changed my mind about moving was when he told us, "I was just telling my wife (separated), I don't want to get to know you folks." He doesn't want to see us go.

November 13, 2005:

To sit with a man who knows he is dying changes the way you look at things. I remember the first day I realized he was dying. I came home and took a shower to hide my tears. I felt so sad.

Now, I just try and spend as much time with him as I can. Every time I go see him, I know I am going to have to be in there for at least an hour and it's going to be 90 degrees. But for me it's worth it if I have the time. I want to spend as much time with him as I can while he is here with us.

If I met him today and started writing about him, he would be a completely different person to me. He ALWAYS needs help. Harrison had to go pick him up off the floor again yesterday. We took him a walker, and some other medical supplies that make it easier to bath and go to the bathroom. I guess none of those things can help you much when your body is deteriorating.

I am so grateful and thankful that we have endured all that we have here(at the apartments) just for the chance to be apart of Mr. Penny's life.