Family News #1 – By Deena

Hello everyone. This has been some year for sure. Like everyone else we have had our ups and downs, laughter and joy then some anxieties, fears and tears. The year 2020 started as a normal year with daily routines we may have even murmured about being boring. Then March hit. On Friday the 13th (yep I said that) my left eye went blind. Saw my ophthalmologist on Saturday and he said my retina had torn. Why? When? No answers, but he made an appointment for me with the Retina Specialists and Surgeons in Beavercreek. Saw the surgeon on Monday and had surgery on Thursday. Put in a gas bubble in the back of the eye to keep the retina in place and said it would dissipate. Scary but nothing I couldn’t handle and was feeling pretty good. The calm before the storm. By the end of March my daughter-in-law Melonie was so sick. Yes, the COVID19 virus hit their household. She was in bed 15 days. High fever, coughing, no appetite, loss of smell and taste, a rash over her body. They tried 3 times to get into a doctor with no success. People were scared. Nobody seemed to know what to do. They went to Urgent Care but they couldn’t help. She lost 17 pounds in those 15 days. On hindsight they should have just called 911 and went to hospital, but everyone kept telling her she was young and could handle it.

In April Darrel began coughing, coughing, coughing and developed a fever of 103 that just wouldn’t go away. He isolated in the spare bedroom and used the spare bath. I used a mask and gloves when delivering food, medicine, drinks. He saw his doctor by teleconferencing a couple of times. By April 8 he was so weak and had trouble just breathing we called 911. The EMT’s came and Darrel walked outside and they took him to the hospital. That was at about 3pm. It is so very frustrating when you can’t be with the ones you love and have to wait at home watching the clock click away not knowing what is happening. At 11pm I get a call from the hospital. It’s Darrel. “You need to come pick me up, they are sending me home.” Did I hear him right? Could they be sending him back here? I was also feeling poorly so called Ryan and he went and picked him up. The health department called the next day doing contact tracing and giving information on what to do. They said if Darrel kept getting worse we should go back to hospital. He did get worse and, as it happened, my granddaughters, Payton and Abby, were at the door dropping off some food. We loaded into the car with masks on and headed back. He went in and I was told to go home. He had double pneumonia and tested positive for COVID. I was upset they had sent him home the night before, but glad he was getting care now. That was on Thursday April 9. By Sunday I was so weak and unable to breathe that I also called 911. My symptoms were different from Darrel’s in the fact I didn’t have that horrible cough. I did have a high fever, also 103, trouble breathing, rash, body aches and I had fainted twice at home. I too tested positive for COVID and had pneumonia. I was admitted. Darrel and I were on the same floor a few doors away from each other. So close yet we couldn’t see one another. Neither of us were on a ventilator, but both of us were on oxygen. I fainted twice more in the hospital and developed bowel incontinence along with everything else. To be truthful, wasn’t sure if I would be coming home. Darrel was in for 8 days and me 6. We have recovered with a few residual effects but very grateful to be home, alive and reasonably healthy. I began losing my hair, handfuls at a time, but that stopped by October and hopefully it will all grow back. We both still get out of breath easy, but we are old! To make April just a little bit worse, my retina on that left eye detached again. So on April 30 had another surgery and this time they put in an oil bubble to keep the retina in place.

May gave us something to make us both happy and proud. Two of our grandchildren graduated from Bowling Green State University. Landon graduated Summa Cum Laude in Bio-Medical Engineering and Payton graduated Cum Laude with a double major in Environmental Science and Spanish. The graduation was on line so no big parties, but good news was a welcome relief.

June through September was a lot of the same. Stay home, isolate, wear your mask, wash your hands. We had a family Alaskan Cruise planned, all eleven of us, for June that had to be cancelled. We had birthdays and anniversaries all without fanfare. Abby did show two pigs at the Clark County Fair. She named them after cartoon pigs, Manly Dan and Olivia. She did well and we have enjoyed the end result of Manly Dan for sure. Family was getting bored, when will this be over?!? After much discussion and more looking Darrel and I bought a travel trailer at the end of September. We decided we can camp and be safer than staying at condos or hotels. It’s a beauty. A 2021 Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro. This will be our first travel trailer. Going from a tent to popup was wonderful so this feels like the big league. Payton began graduate school, Tabitha back to Wittenberg and Abby to her junior year in high school. They have school then it’s virtual, then hybrid, then it changes again. I feel bad for all the kids in school. Melissa is still teaching in Montgomery Co. They have had such strange ups and downs like the other schools. She is off now until January because of the high instances of COVID in Montgomery County. Landon began a new job at a Presbyterian Church as a youth minister and is also still working with Young Life and helping to coach the high school football team. Laken is stationed at Andrews Air Force Base and doing quite well. She has received several awards and has a very responsible job. In fact, she will be on duty at the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony this coming January.

October was more of the same except I had a friend die from the COVID19 virus which was so sad and made the virus a bigger enemy. Tabitha got notice that for her weight group she came in second in the nation for weight lifting!!!! So proud. Derek had to have surgery on his left arm at the wrist and elbow then had the same surgery on his right December 4. Ryan built a pole barn (he has been wanting one since he bought that house in 2002) in his back field and is pretty happy.

Darrel and I celebrated our 42 anniversary on November 9th. In December we had an addition to our family. No, not a baby (although a grandchild would be great!) but a new dog. We rescued a little terrier. He is about 28#, a mix of Wheaten and Westie and fawn colored. He has gotten Laila, our boxer, a little more active and definitely more energy in the house. What we complained about being boring and mundane at the first of the year is now something we wish we could do. Since we are caretakers to my elderly father, 86 in October, we hesitate to take chances of any kind. No family gatherings for the foreseeable future. But, all of the family is healthy, we have enough to eat, clothes to keep us warm, TP lol, and are looking forward to better times to come.

I promise not to have all my family updates this long. May all of you have peace and be well, stay safe my friends.