Feeds:
Posts
Comments

I was very sick last winter and finally feel good again.  My remaining issue is that I can’t seem to do any exercise more strenuous than walking.  When I do, I can’t catch my breath and end up in a coughing fit.  So, I’ve continued doctoring to get to the bottom of this issue.  I’ve had lung function tests, exercise tests, heart tests, etc. and they have come out pretty normal.  My lung doctor requested a sinus CT which showed lots of concerns.  This led me to see an ENT in Indianapolis named Dr. Ulm.  At my visit he suggested surgery to repair my billateral sinusitis; open up both sides, the right side being completely blocked.  I had lots of scar tissue so he thought I’d had lots of sinus infections that went untreated.  I know of two sinus infections and they were pretty painful and made me think all my teeth were rotten, so it seemed odd that I wouldn’t know I had one.  I told Dr. Ulm that I wasn’t ready to have surgery and he said we could do some allergy testing and see how I did this coming winter and then decide.

At the end of May, I met with a speech pathologist who explained that the medicine I take for acid reflux neutralized the acid in my stomach for 14 hours.  This means that by evening the acid is no longer neutralized and this is often when I lay down to go to sleep which allows the acid to easily get to the back of my throat at my vocal chords.  She explained that my vocal chords have been damaged by this acid.  Therefore, when I breathe in through my mouth and the air hits my vocal chords, it causes the sensation that I need to cough.  She explained that my vocal chords could be repaired in 3 months by taking the acid reflux medicine twice a day instead of once a day.  This would keep the acid neutralized 24 hours a day.  She also talked about the high possibility of me having vocal chord disfunction.  My vocal chords have been closing to keep the acid from coming up and causing me to vomit, but now they are closing up when I take deep breathes through my mouth (like when exercising).  I have to retrain my vocal chords not to do this.  She taught me some breathing exercises to try that can open up my vocal chords when they lock up on me and I feel like I’m gasping for air.  It was so great to talk to her and hear reasons for my gasping for air.

The same day I went back to my wonderful pulmonologist, Dr. Karen Wolf.  She showed me my sinus CT scan and compared a normal sinus scan to mine.  She also showed my deviated septum and explained how hard it has to be to breathe through my nose.  My right sinus (under my eye area) was completely blocked with scar tissue.  Dr. Wolf felt it was necessary for me to have the sinus surgery and that this would help my breathing/exercise issues.  She felt that if I could breathe better through my nose, I wouldn’t need to breathe through my mouth all the time when exercising.  She also prescribed my acid reflux meds for twice a day to help with the issue the speech pathologist had discussed.  I really value her opinion and since she thought it would help with my real health concerns, I went ahead and scheduled the sinus surgery.

I didn’t make another appt. to see the ENT prior to surgery, so I started to look online and when I found a video of the surgery on youtube, I couldn’t watch more than a minute.  I’m glad that I quit, as I’ve read some really bad stuff about the surgery in the last two days.  I thought I would share my experience as it hasn’t been nearly as bad as most people seem to have had.  Of course, it seems that when people have a bad experience they tell everyone about it, and when someone has a good experience, they don’t spread the word as much.

June 27th we set our alarm for 2:45 am.  We quickly showered and got dressed and hit the road by 3:30.  We arrived at IUPUI by 5:55 our time (6:55 Indiana time).  We checked in and did the presurgery stuff.  The anesthesiologist came to talk to us and Dr. Ulm came in to go over the procedure.  I was a little alarmed when they said it wasn’t uncommon to have your teeth chipped during the procedure.  I sure didn’t want that to happen!  The Dr. explained that he would do a new procedure to stop the bleeding so that my nose wouldn’t have to be packed.  That sounded like great news.  My friend Tricia, who works at the hospital, came to check on me which was nice.  Everyone was really nice and I didn’t get very nervous (surprisingly).  Finally it was time for my surgery at 9:00 (8:00 Illinois time) and I walked back to the surgery area.  This was an interesting walk as they made Darren take my glasses and I’m really blind without contacts/glasses.  I held onto the nurse for dear life and still crashed into a few things!  I then climbed up on the surgical table, but couldn’t breath with my head down lower than my chest.  They got me some pillows, warm blankets, and started the IV’s and giving me the anesthesia.  It didn’t take long and I was out.

When I finally awoke, I was totally drowsy and sweating like crazy.  The sweet nurse kept getting cool cloths and wiping me down.  Of course, I also had the urge to vomit over and over.  I hadn’t eaten anything, so it was mostly dry heaves.  My friend Tricia came back to check on me and I’m sure I grossed her out with all my gagging.  It was just so hard to open my eyes, I was completely exhausted.  Then they moved me into the post-op room and I moved into a recliner.  Darren was able to come in and I asked if my teeth were ok and they were.  Tricia came back and we visited a bit.  My nose and throat were hurting, but it wasn’t THAT bad.  She encouraged me to get a puke pan for the drive home.  I didn’t think we were anywhere near ready to head home, but I was wrong.  Soon, one of the nurses told Darren to go get the car and that she would bring me out front in a wheel chair.  The nurse handed me my bag of clothes and told me to get dressed and open the door when I was finished.  I couldn’t believe I was expected to do this myself.  Why didn’t they let Darren stay to help me?  Somehow, I got my clothes on and managed to open the door and then I fell back asleep.  Soon, the nurse had me in the wheelchair and took me out to get in the car.  I can’t believe how quick they move you out!

The ride home seemed to take forever.  My sweet husband remembered my request in nearly all of my previous surgeries….a banana shake from Steak-n-Shake.  He got me one in Terre Haute, but they didn’t include a spoon.  I tried to use the straw, but it felt like too much pressure in my nose.  I managed eat some of it, but slept most of the ride home.  We got home around 2:30 our time, and I went straight to bed.  I spent the rest of the day in bed.  Darren offered to go get me some food, but I had no desire to eat anything.  My throat hurt really bad from the breathing tube.  Obviously, my nose hurt too.  I took my pain meds and antibiotics along with my regular meds.  At about 2:00 am, I awoke and felt awful.  I think I was breathing through my mouth, but as I would drift off to sleep, I would try breathing through my nose and that just didn’t work.  I got up and went to the kitchen and tried to use the netti pot.  However, my nose was completely blocked and nothing was flowing through except some blood.  I sat up in the recliner for the rest of the night.  It helped to be more upright and I kept drinking cold lemonaide which felt good on my throat.

The next morning Darren went to work and mom came to stay with me.  She brought me afrin which the doctor had recommended.  I sprayed it in my nose and like magic I could breath again.  If I had known it would work so well, I would have sent Darren out to get some in the middle of the night!  My throat felt a little better as the day went on.  I still didn’t have much desire to eat anything, but cool yogurt did feel good on my throat.  My sister Becky came over as well. Her and mom cleaned out a few of my kitchen cabinets, mom worked on my flowers, and dad even came over and cut down one of our dead trees.  Of course, they were taking care of my kids as well as feeding them.  My friend Anna came over to visit and bring some goodies too.  My Aunt Jan and cousin Amy stopped by too.  It is so nice to have friends and family take care of me!  I slept quite a bit and kept taking my pain meds every 6 hours to prevent the pain from getting too bad.  My biggest complaint was really bad headaches.  I read online that these sinus headaches can last for 1 to 2 weeks post-surgery.  I hope that isn’t the case for me!  I uploaded, edited, and ordered over 200 pictures from Walgreens that day too.  In the evening, I was ready to get out of the house for a bit so we headed over to my sister’s and Darren and Kolten swam while I played with Miley.  I came home and went to bed and slept all night until Darren’s alarm went off at 6:30.  I was so happy that I could breathe through my nose and sleep.

I went back to sleep until 9:00 and then showered and hung out with Kolten for the day (Kendall had spent the night at a friend’s).  I told my family that we would be ok and they didn’t need to come stay with me.  It wasn’t long and Kolten started vomiting.  Maybe I would need them after all!  However, he was just cuddly, so we watched movies most of the day.  Becky dropped off my pictures from Walgreens, so I put those in photo albums, and then we napped some more.  Kolten had another vomiting episode after eating carrots and now thinks he’s allergic to them.  My biggest pain today is my upper stomach, just below my breasts in the center.  The doctor thought this was probably a result of my dry heaving so much following anesthesia.  He said if it gets worse over the weekend to call.  Or, maybe I’m starting to feel the acid reflux pain that I have never felt.  I have an appt. set up to see Dr. Ulm on July 5th.  Tonight I again wanted to get out of the house.  I rode along to take Kendall to ball practice and then we went out to eat and visited Darren’s parents.  We picked Kendall up from practice and came home.  I watered my flowers and then got to work on this.

I just want to say that it hasn’t been that bad.  This is my 7th surgery and probably one of the easiest.  Yes, its not completely comfortable, but I can get around fine (unlike with c-sections, shoulder, and foot surgeries).  Each day seems to be better and I’m a little less tired.  I’m glad I didn’t read all the negative blogs about this surgery prior to mine or I would have been freaked out.  I just hope this takes care of my exercise/breathing problem!

I was very sick last winter and finally feel good again.  My remaining issue is that I can’t seem to do any exercise more strenuous than walking.  When I do, I can’t catch my breath and end up in a coughing fit.  So, I’ve continued doctoring to get to the bottom of this issue.  I’ve had lung function tests, exercise tests, heart tests, etc. and they have come out pretty normal.  My lung doctor requested a sinus CT which showed lots of concerns.  This led me to see an ENT in Indianapolis named Dr. Ulm.  At my visit he suggested surgery to repair my billateral sinusitis; open up both sides, the right side being completely blocked.  I had lots of scar tissue so he thought I’d had lots of sinus infections that went untreated.  I know of two sinus infections and they were pretty painful and made me think all my teeth were rotten, so it seemed odd that I wouldn’t know I had one.  I told Dr. Ulm that I wasn’t ready to have surgery and he said we could do some allergy testing and see how I did this coming winter and then decide.

At the end of June, I met with a speech pathologist who explained that the medicine I take for acid reflux neutralized the acid in my stomach for 14 hours.  This means that by evening the acid is no longer neutralized and this is often when I lay down to go to sleep which allows the acid to easily get to the back of my throat at my vocal chords.  She explained that my vocal chords have been damaged by this acid.  Therefore, breathing in through my mouth causes the sensation that I need to cough.  She explained that my vocal chords could be repaired in 3 months by taking the acid reflux medicine twice a day instead of once a day.  This would keep the acid neutralized 24 hours a day.  She also talked about the high possibility of me having vocal chord disfunction.  My vocal chords have been closing to keep the acid from coming up and causing me to vomit, but now they are closing up when I take deep breathes through my mouth (like when exercising).  I have to retrain my vocal chords not to do this.  She taught me some breathing exercises to try that can open up my vocal chords when they lock up on me and I feel like I’m gasping for air.  It was so great to talk to her and hear reasons for my gasping for air.

The same day I went back to my wonderful pulmonologist, Dr. Karen Wolf.  She showed me my sinus CT scan and compared a normal sinus scan to mine.  She also showed my deviated septum and explained how hard it has to be to breathe through my nose.  My right sinus (under my eye area) was completely blocked with scar tissue.  Dr. Wolf felt it was necessary for me to have the sinus surgery and that this would help my breathing/exercise issues.  She felt that if I could breathe better through my nose, I wouldn’t need to breathe through my mouth all the time when exercising.  She also prescribed my acid reflux meds for twice a day to help with the issue the speech pathologist had discussed.  I really value her opinion and since she thought it would help with my real health concerns, I went ahead and scheduled the sinus surgery.

I didn’t make another appt. to see the ENT prior to surgery, so I started to look online and when I found a video on youtube, I couldn’t watch more than a minute.  I’m glad that I quit, as I’ve read some really bad stuff about the surgery in the last two days.  I thought I would share my experience as it hasn’t been nearly as bad as most people seem to have had.

June 27th we set our alarm for 2:45 am.  We quickly showered and got dressed and hit the road by 3:30.  We arrived at IUPUI by 5:55 our time (6:55 Indiana time).  We checked in and did the presurgery stuff.  The anesthesiologist came to talk to us and Dr. Ulm came in to go over the procedure.  I was a little alarmed when they said it wasn’t uncommon to have your teeth chipped during the procedure.  I sure didn’t want that to happen!  The Dr. explained that he would do a new procedure to stop the bleeding so that my nose wouldn’t have to be packed.  That sounded like great news.  My friend Tricia, who works at the hospital, came to check on me which was nice.  Everyone was really nice and I didn’t get very nervous (surprisingly).  Finally it was time for my surgery at 9:00 (8:00 Illinois time) and I walked back to the surgury area.  This was an interesting walk as they made Darren take my glasses and I’m really blind without contacts/glasses.  I held onto the nurse for dear life and still crashed into a few things!  I then climbed up on the surgical table, but couldn’t breath with my head down lower than my chest.  They got me some pillows, warm blankets, and started the IV’s and giving me the anesthesia.  It didn’t take long and I was out. 

When I finally awoke, I was totally drowsy and had the urge to vomit over and over.  I hadn’t eaten anything, so it was mostly dry heaves.  My friend Tricia came back to check on me and I’m sure I grossed her out with all my gagging.  It was just so hard to open my eyes, I was completely exhausted.  Then they moved me into the post-op room and I moved into a recliner.  Darren was able to come in and I asked if my teeth were ok and they were.  Tricia came back and we visited a bit.  My nose and throat were hurting, but it wasn’t THAT bad.  She encouraged me to get a puke pan for the drive home.  I didn’t think we were anywhere near ready to head home, but I was wrong.  Soon, one of the nurses told Darren to go get the car and she would bring me out front in a wheel chair.  The nurse handed me my bag of clothes and told me to get dressed and open the door when I was finished.  I couldn’t believe I was expected to do this myself.  Why didn’t they let Darren stay to help me?  Somehow, I got my clothes on and managed to open the door and then I fell back asleep.  Soon, the nurse had me in the wheelchair and took me out to get in the car.  I can’t believe how quick they move you out! 

The ride home seemed to take forever.  My sweet husband remembered my request in nearly all of my other surgeries….a banana shake from Steak-n-Shake.  He got me one in Terre Haute, but they didn’t include a spoon.  I tried to use the straw, but it felt like too much pressure in my nose.  I managed eat some of it, but slept most of the ride home.  We got home around 2:30 our time, and I went straight to bed.  I spent the rest of the day in bed.  Darren offered to go get me some food, but I had no desire to eat anything.  My throat hurt really bad from the breathing tube.  Obviously, my nose hurt too.  I took my pain meds and antibiotics along with my regular meds.  At about 2:00 am, I awoke and felt awful.  I think I was breathing through my mouth, but as I would drift off to sleep, I would try breathing through my nose and that just didn’t work.  I got up and went to the kitchen and tried to use the netti pot.  However, it was completely blocked and nothing was flowing through.  I sat up in the recliner for the rest of the night.  It helped to be more upright and I kept drinking cold lemonaide which felt good on my throat.

The next morning Darren went to work and mom came to stay with me.  She brought me afrin which the doctor had recommended.  I sprayed it in my nose and like magic I could breath again.  If I had known it would work so well, I would have sent Darren out to get some in the middle of the night!  My throat felt a little better as the day went on.  I still didn’t have much desire to eat anything.  My sister Becky came over as well. Her and mom cleaned out a few of my kitchen cabinets, mom worked on my flowers, and dad even came over and cut down one of our dead trees.  Of course, they were taking care of my kids as well as feeding them.  My friend Anna came over to visit and bring some goodies too.  It is so nice to have friends and family take care of me!  I slept quite a bit and kept taking my pain meds every 6 hours to prevent the pain from getting too bad.  My biggest complaint was really bad headaches.  I read online that these sinus headaches can last for 1 to 2 weeks post-surgery.  I hope that isn’t the case for me!  I uploaded, edited, and ordered over 200 pictures from Walgreens that day too.  In the evening, I was ready to get out of the house for a bit so we headed over to my sister’s and Darren and Kolten swam while I played with Miley.  I came home and went to bed and slept all night until Darren’s alarm went off at 6:30.  I was happy that I could breathe through my nose.

I slept until 9:00 and then showered and hung out with Kolten for the day (Kendall had spent the night at a friend’s).  I told my family that we would be ok and they didn’t need to come stay with me.  It wasn’t long and Kolten started vomiting.  Maybe I would need them after all!  However, he was just cuddly, so we watched movies most of the day.  Becky dropped off my pictures from Walgreens, so I put those in photo albums, and then we napped some more.  My biggest pain today was my upper stomach, just below my breasts.  The doctor thought this was probably a result of my dry heaving so much following anesthesia.  He said if it gets worse over the weekend to call.  I have an appt. set up to see Dr. Ulm on July 5th.  Tonight I again wanted to get out of the house.  I rode along to take Kendall to ball practice and then we went out to eat and visited Darren’s parents.  We picked Kendall up from practice and came home.  I watered my flowers and then got to work on this. 

I just want to say that it hasn’t been that bad.  This is my 7th surgery and probably one of the easiest.  Yes, its not completely comfortable, but I can get around fine.  Each day seems to be better and I’m a little less tired.  I’m glad I didn’t read all the negative blogs about this surgery prior to mine or I would have been freaked out. 

Our busy summer is off and running.  Today started with dropping Kendall off at swim practice at 7:30.  Then Kolten and I went to my friend’s house and headed out for an hour and a half walk around town (while Kolten led the way on his scooter).  At 9:00, I dropped Kolten off at swim practice and took Kendall and two friends to a pick up game at the park.   I picked Kolten up from the pool at 10:00 and we went to the park and then headed back over to watch Kendall play ball.

Every Wednesday our park district offers a pick-up game from 9:30-11:30 at Community Park for 9-12 year old boys.  The park district provides one staff member to oversee the game.  Kendall loves to play baseball and really enjoys going to this each week.  I sat on the bleachers and read the newspaper, but couldn’t help but to be distracted by one of the boy’s constant negative comments.  He was telling one child that his home run in last week’s khoury league game was only because the other team had no defense.  This boy made snide remarks about another child who had a hard time hitting the ball.  He then made fun of Kendall’s shop towel (that we use instead of the more expensive Frog Tog).  Next he complained that his own team should hurry up and make three outs because he was bored and wanted to go home.  The constant use of the word “fricken” didn’t appeal to me either.  It just saddens me that something that should be fun (and is optional) is turned into a place to bully other kids.  If he doesn’t want to come, why does he?   I debated stepping in and saying something as I don’t think the person on staff could hear what was going on in the dugout right next to me.  I hope my kids never act in such a way….and if they do, please tell me right away!

We came home with two of Kendall’s friends for the afternoon.   We walked in the house and one commented that he really liked my kitchen cabinets.  Is that something that a 10 year old boy notices?  Both boys were super polite (even when I served under-cooked corn dogs) and thanked me over and over.  I guess I’m just happy that Kendall’s friends are good kidsJ

We had a text mid-morning that Kendall’s traveling team was going to have practice at 4:15 today.  I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to get him there at that time.  Yesterday I posted lots of Darren’s clothes for sale on the Effingham Garage Sale site and a lady said she was coming to purchase an item at 4:00.  I had given her my cell phone number, but I didn’t have hers.  I told Darren that as soon as she showed up I would take Kendall to practice (hoping she would be early).  However, by 4:15 when Darren got home from work, she still hadn’t showed up.  At 4:20 she sent me a message on Facebook saying that she had just talked to her son and the size wouldn’t fit him.  I was so angry.  She had my cell #.  Why didn’t she sent me a quick text or call to let me know rather than make me wait at home for her?  I could care less that she bowed out on the sale; it’s that my son was late to practice because she didn’t have the common courtesy to let me know (prior to the arranged time) that she wasn’t coming.

Ok, I got that off my chest and I feel better now!

About two weeks ago, my dad called and told me that he was missing one of his shoes for umpiring.  My parents had watched my boys the previous day and they had ran errands with my boys in the back seat of Dad’s truck.  Dad wondered if my kids had seen the shoes.  I asked Kendall first and he said that there was a lot of umpiring stuff in the back seat, but he wasn’t sure whether there was one or two shoes.  So, I ventured to ask Kolten whether he had noticed one or two of Grandpa’s umpiring shoes in the back seat.  Kolten said, “Well, there were two until we went to a store, then one fell out.”  I thought he was joking, but that was it.  Upon further questioning he said that he FORGOT to pick up the shoe or tell anyone.  Seriously, how do you FORGET to pick up a shoe that you knock out of a vehicle?  So, after determining that it was a store with an orange roof where it fell out, we took a quick drive over to the Effingham Equity to see if it happened to be in the parking lot.  No such luck.  I kept telling Kolten about how irresponsible this was and that he would have to pay $50 to buy Grandpa new shoes.  He seemed to feel bad, but the money thing didn’t bother him.  He said he has lots more than $50 in his bank account.  This irritated me even more.  We talked about how that money was to be used for college or to buy a car some day.  It was not for wasting on a shoe that you were too lazy to pick up!  I made Kolten call his Grandpa and apologize.  Kolten was nervous about this but as soon as Kolten told Grandpa Dave that he would pay $50 for a new shoe, Grandpa quickly told him that wouldn’t be necessary and that he should buy a good bat for baseball instead.  I was like, “What, are you kidding me?  I want this kid to feel bad right now!”  So Kolten gets off the phone and says, “Grandpa isn’t even mad at me.”

The next morning I call the Effingham Equity and ask if they happened to find a man’s black umpiring shoe in the parking lot two days before.  I was surprised when the lady told me that they did.  I told her that I would be by to pick it up around noon.  In the mean time, we called Grandpa Dave and my mom to tell them the good news.  At noon, we stopped by the Equity and I ran in to pick up the shoe.  However, it could not be located.  After looking around, another guy said that they had thrown it away since no one had called within 24 hours of losing it.  It wouldn’t have been so bad, but I had already told my dad that it had been found!  The Equity worker could see I was upset and he told me that I could look in the dumpster and that it would be in a white trash bag filled with office paper.  I walked over to the giant dumpster, but could only reach one white bag.  I opened it, but the shoe was not inside.  I was about to walk away as there was no way I was going to climb INSIDE the dumpster, when two very nice employees came out to help me.  They were equipped with gloves and a rake to reach the bags down deep in the dumpster.  They ended up finding the white trash bag inside a black trash bag.  The shoe was safely inside a bag filled with office scraps (nothing yucky).  I thanked the men over and over and went on my way to return the missing shoe to my dad.

The only problem now is that my 6 year old felt even less guilty about the issue since the shoe was found.  I was talking to my sister about it and asked for her advice on what to do to make him realize how bad of a decision he made.  She thought for a while and suggested waiting a week or so and then “losing” something of his out of the car and later telling him that I forgot to pick it up.  So, today I finally had a good opportunity.  He left his red Cardinal helmet in the car, so I snuck it into a good hiding spot.  I knew he would be looking for it when it was time to get ready for Kendall’s game as Kolten is the bat boy and always wears this helmet.  After he got ready for the game, he started looking for the helmet and asked if Kendall or I had seen it.  I said, “Yes, I saw it but when I got Brady out of the car at Kohl’s yesterday, it fell out and rolled under the car.”  He said, “Did you put it back in the car?”  I said, “No, I couldn’t reach it and then I forgot about it when we left.”  He was REALLY upset and told me that I was going to have to pay for a new one.  We made a pretend phone call to Kohl’s and were told that no one had turned in a Cardinal helmet.  He went off crying.  I hate to lie to my kids, but I feel this is the only way he’s going to learn his lesson.  I plan to give it back in a couple days.

He was heart-broken that he wouldn’t have the helmet to be the bat boy during Kendall’s game, but even more so that he wouldn’t have it for his own first small fry game.  Kendall was way too nice and let Kolten borrow his helmet.  I sure hope he still learns his lesson!

My ten year old had to write an essay to be published in our local paper for Mother’s Day.  He had mentioned it a time or two, mostly about how much he hates writing.  I kept asking him for hints about what he was writing, but he wouldn’t give up any information.  When I read it in tonight’s paper, I just had to laugh.  It is so HIM.  The entire thing is about sports.  It’s not a letter that tells how loving or caring I am, or how I help him…it all goes back to what’s important to him…sports!  Here’s the letter:

My mom, Jackie Tabbert, is one of the best moms in the world!  She deserves the Mother of the Year award because she is very friendly.  Everyone should agree that my mom is the Mother of the Year.

The first reason that she should be Mother of the Year is because she lets me play sports.  She lets me play flag football for the Cowboys, swim team for the Red Tide, baseball for Effingham Clay Service and The Future, and basketball for Teutopolis Blue Streaks and Teutopolis Park District.  She also spends a lot of money on gas for all the games we have to go to that are out of town.  We also have to spend a lot of time out of our neighborhood because of all the sports my brother and I play.  My mom is very active with our family.

The next reason she should be Mother of the Year is because she lets me go to baseball games.  She lets me go to Cardinal games, Teutopolis and Effingham Jr. High and High school games, and Minor League games.  One time I caught one of the home run balls.  We are also in the Cardinals Kids Club so we get a lot of free tickets for home games.  We went to one of the THS games that Derek Thompson threw a perfect game and hit a walk off homer.  It is really fun to go to baseball games with my mom.

Who will you vote for?  Chose my mom for Mother of the Year!

By: Kendall Tabbert

I guess all of our talks about how expensive gas is and that its a privilege to play on travel teams has sunk in!  As I’ve said before, Kendall is not my sentimental kid.  This is probably as close to “I love you” as I’ll ever hear:(  Every night when I tell him that I love him he responds with, “Me too”.  I say, “Well, its good that you love yourself, but what about me?”  He just laughs.  Other than that, I guess this letter proves that I have no choice but to be a “Sports Mama”.

My grandpa, Chuck Kreke, passed away on Monday. These are some of my favorite memories with him:

*When I was little, I remember how Grandpa always wore bib overalls and was sure to have a pocket watch and Chiclet’s gum in his front pocket. He also gave me rocks for every birthday and thought it was soooo funny.

*When my dad had cancer and I was a freshman in high school, I spent many nights with Grandma and Grandpa. We always had a good time and Grandpa knew how to get my mind off of the serious stuff.

*When I was in college and moved to an off-campus apartment, Mom and Grandpa came to visit. We had a washing machine, but our dryer was junk and would take hours to dry a load. I knew Grandpa would be able to help me put up a clothesline in the backyard. Now, Grandpa used a politically incorrect term, and said, “Sure, I can nigger-rig something” just as my new black neighbors walked out their back door. I was so embarrassed and Grandpa didn’t even realize what he said was inappropriate.

*While Darren and I were gone on our honeymoon, Grandpa rounded up some help and came to my house in Salem and had a grand time. He put a toilet on my front porch with hotdogs floating in it. The entire front yard was lined with forks, the place was toilet papered, and such. Though it was a mess to come home to (and I had no idea how to get rid of the toilet), it meant so much to me that Grandpa cared enough to do this!

*Grandpa loved coming to my house because he knew there was sure to be card games going on. He loved playing cards. When we first got married, we just had a little glass-top table and Grandpa hated it. I think he was afraid he would break it if he pounded his hand too hard when he lost a game!

*Last fall, while Grandpa needed around the clock care, I took an afternoon shift. Grandpa wanted to go for a ride, and asked if I would take him to Jewett where Ted was farming. He claimed Ted might need help moving a vehicle, but I think he just wanted to check up on him! Kendall and I helped Grandpa get in his truck and off we went. Grandpa told us who lived in nearly every house we passed and shared stories from years ago. After getting to the field and finding that Ted didn’t really need help, we drove around checking out some of the other fields, and then he was really excited to show Kendall the “street cars” in Jewett. Kendall kept asking what street cars were, so we explained how they had them in big cities like Chicago years ago. When we finally arrived in the little town of Jewett, Grandpa kept asking Kendall if he found the street cars yet. Kendall was so confused and didn’t realize this was yet another of Grandpa’s jokes. Oh, and Grandpa said I was better at driving in the country than in town….as I often hit the curbs when driving his big truck!

*When Grandpa had the strength, I would cut his hair. I didn’t mind this at all, but trimming his eyebrows and nose hairs made me nervous!

*My kids were probably the luckiest of his great-grandkids. They spent a lot of time with Grandpa Chuck and got to know him really well. Kendall enjoyed showing G-pa his medals and awards and playing rummy or highest. Kolten may have gotten a little of his personality from Grandpa. Kolten loves to tease and joke just like Grandpa. Their biggest topic of teasing had to be the Cardinals and Cubs. Kolten LOVES the Cardinals and Grandpa Chuck LOVES the Cubs.  My kids also loved playing marbles, eating cookies, and drinking soda with Grandpa Chuck.

*Grandpa hated being in the hospital and nursing home (where he spent about 2 weeks in rehab last summer). He wanted to be home, but my mom, Ted, and Jan couldn’t do it without help. Grandpa was privileged to have several great caregivers, but Anna was one who really touched G-pa’s life and seemed to become another member of the family. She grew to love him as much as we did. It was just the sweetest thing to see her take care of him and kiss him on the cheek. She was also one of the big forces behind G-pa getting back in the combine last fall. She was so excited to see him and took numerous pictures of the occasion. I am forever grateful to these wonderful ladies who made his last 8 months the best they could be.

Several of us worked on the following story of G-pa’s life. Kayla read it at the visitation.

Charles Henry Kreke was born on January 3, 1921, to William and Angela Kreke. He was the seventh of eleven children.

Chuck’s favorite childhood toys were marbles. He loved winning from his friends and had a marble collection his entire life.

As a preteen Chuck and his brother were playing with matches in the barn and started it on fire. They were so scared that they ran inside and hid under the bed. The whole barn burned down!

Chuck went to Sacred Heart School and had to walk past South Side every day to get home. The South Side kids would call them “Cat lickers” (for being Catholic) on a daily basis. One day, Chuck and his brothers got tired of it, and beat up the South Side kids. The next day they got called into Fr. Doyl’s office. Once they explained what the reason was, he told them to go ahead and do it again!

When Charles was 14, he worked on Dick Hardiek’s farm. Tudie was also there babysitting for her nieces and nephews. Charles caught a glimpse of her and thought she was cute so he threw her in a water trough. He knew she was the “ONE” when she didn’t get mad, just laughed.

At age 16, Charles went to work at the heel factory and got fired because he was too fast. He said the other employees couldn’t keep up and caused the line not to run smoothly.

At age 21, Chuck and Tudie got married and lived with her parents while working on her family’s farm. A couple years later, they moved 2 miles down the road and raised peeps in the upstairs bedroom. When they moved to Montrose a few years later, Chuck bought his first tractor, a 1943 red F21 with steel wheels. By this time Chuck and Tudie were happy to have three children, Charlene, Dick, and Mike. They kept busy with farming and family life.

After Tudie’s parents retired and moved to town, Chuck and Tudie and their young family moved to the Hardiek farm. Three more children, Judy, Ted, and Jan were born at this home. Chuck also fell in love with his dairy cows and built one of the 1st elevated milking parlors in the area. From the 1960’s on, Chuck would only buy John Deere green tractors and machinery. When the boys bought an orange AC in the late 80’s, he refused to drive it.

Chuck and Tudie enjoyed square dancing, bowling, and watching their sons play fast pitch softball at the KC Hall. Chuck thought a shot of whiskey made everything better. He loved his Cubbies and one of his favorite trips was going to Wrigley Field to cheer on his favorite team.

After Tudie died in 1995, Chuck became one of Dan Hecht’s best customers. He bought a new truck nearly every year — mostly because he liked to negotiate a good deal.

Age 88 was a big year for Chuck — he joined the modern world of technology and got his very own cell phone. After getting stuck in the tractor a few times, he wanted to be able to reach Ted if he needed something. A couple months later while disking, he needed help due to the hydraulic hoses becoming unhooked. He waited over an hour before Ted came and checked on him. When asked why he didn’t use his cell phone to call, he responded, “I forgot I had one in my front pocket”.

Chuck always loved cards. He often commented he had a dog from each town. From an early age, he taught his grandkids how to play starting out with “highest” and “war”. His favorite game changed over the years: Pinnacle, Pepper, Solo, Pitch, Hearts, O’Heck. He finished the last few years playing spades and was looking forward to teaching Tudie how to play once they met again. I’m sure Chuck would want everyone to know, the last card game of his life … he beat Dave Bloemer by 1 pt.

Chuck had many loves in his life: his wife, family, farming, playing cards, and the Cubs. However, love struck again in 2006 — when Culver’s opened in Effingham. Chuck always liked fried chicken and ate Culver’s chicken 3-4 times/week. He continued this until he got put on his low sodium diet last fall.

Chuck was a great example of true loyalty. He loved his Cubs and even though they never won a World Series in his lifetime, he never lost hope. He’d constantly say, “There’s always next year”. Days before he passed when asked the secret to living to 90+, without hesitation he responded, “Gotta be a Cubs Fan”.

Chuck lived a long and prosperous life. He was an example of work hard/play hard, always be on-time, and never miss Sunday mass. Even though he was never late a minute in his life, he showed up just a day late for Tudie’s 91st b-day party in Heaven.

The following story of Grandkids’ memories was read prior to the funeral dinner by Amy:

I’ve often heard, “Grandparents are God’s gift to children”, that sure was the case with Grandpa Chuck. Grandpa had 31 grandchildren and 42 great-grandchildren. We all sincerely thank God for the opportunity to see, hear, and feel all that Grandpa Chuck had to offer for so many years.

Even though Grandpa was growing old on the outside, he remained young on the inside. One of his favorite past-times was to tease his grandkids. It was never a good idea to come hungry to a meal with Grandpa, as he would give you a dime sized amount of food and say “Is that enough? Grandpa would gulf down his food and then sneak his empty chicken bones onto our plates to see our awestruck reaction.

A phone call from Grandpa always started with him asking, “How’s your gizzard?” We’d laugh and respond it was doing just fine. A birthday didn’t stop the teasing. He was famous for putting his hand in front of us while blowing out our candles. He had to make sure we had at least one boy or girlfriend. He persistently asked how many boyfriends we had and if they were sweet or sour, even if we were only 10 years old. As we got older and actually started dating, the teasing progressed to our significant others. Once they showed up at family Christmas, the anonymous “Santa” gifts started arriving. Whether it was stacks of plastic cups, old kitchen utensils, freebie hats, or chicken figurines….Grandpa LOVED giving gag gifts.

When we got our white slips, Grandpa would let us drive him around; until we hit too many curbs … (cough) Beth (cough). We knew he really trusted us once he let us drive down hamburger alley. Grandpa loved eating at Cruisers, McDonalds, and Niemergs. After Sunday morning mass, our ritual was: head to Save-A-Lot and buy peppermints, circus peanuts, popcorn, and a pack of bacon.

We also had work days at Grandpa’s where we would deep clean the inside of the house and work on the landscaping outside. Grandpa enjoyed supervising from the front porch. In appreciation, he rewarded us all with Niemerg’s chicken for lunch and a $5 bill.

Nearly every month, we were eager to help Grandpa make a new batch of blackberry jelly using Grandma’s famous recipe. He couldn’t eat a piece of toast without layering on the jelly. Hence, a jar barely lasted him but two days. Grandpa sure had a sweet tooth, but the sweetness didn’t stop there.

Grandpa taught us not to sweat the small stuff. No matter what happened, he always had an upbeat outlook on life. He could often be heard saying, “Better days a-comin.” His happy-go-lucky attitude is why we looked forward to spending the night with him. The simple joy of spending time together was what meant the most, but the unlimited cookies and soda didn’t hurt either.

Though Grandpa had a hearing aid, he proved to be an amazing listener. He loved listening to our mischievous stories and he would reminisce about his ornery years. We could EVEN count on Grandpa to keep our stories a secret from our parents.

As our family chain continues to grow, we will always remember the love and laughter from Grandpa Chuck. As his youngest grandchild enters high school next year, and more great grandchildren arrive, his legacy will forever be in our hearts. We thank you Grandpa for being the best grandparent a kid could ask for. With you as our guardian angel, we’re confident love and laughter will forever be a part of us.

A final poem was written and read by my brother Charley:

Oh Grandpa, Dear Grandpa, What a life that you’ve lived, In 91 years, there’s a lot that you did.

You married Grandma, built a farm, and had six kids, one is my mother, thank goodness you did!

When I was born, I had two toes partially connected, The doctor recommended to have this corrected.

You said, “Hell, No, you’re not touching that grandson of mine. My toes are connected and I turned out just fine”.

As I played in the yard and that tractor came near,

I flagged down Grandpa and climbed up in that John Deere.

You would give me a ride on the arm of the chair,

As I watched you make hay and throw dust in the air.

I would ride with you for hours as you made round after round

but I sure didn’t mind, I had the best seat in town.

I was always excited as we neared summer break,

It meant I got to spend every day with Grandpa Kreke.

Whether Wendy’s, McDonald’s, or Cruisers for lunch,

We always knew Grandpa would feed us a bunch.

You were playful and ornery and loved a good joke,

like your clown that spit water when you pulled the tie on his throat.

When you came over our beds had better be made,

or sleeping in crackers is the price that we paid.

You taught me to play cards like pinochle, pitch, and hearts,

And how to still win when your hand ain’t worth a fart.

But the best lesson was when your chances are running thin

Just make sure that you team up, so that Dave doesn’t win.

My first use of a drill was to but a hole in your finger

You had a nasty blood blister that you didn’t want to linger.

I can say I wasn’t sure how hard I should push.

You said, “Just keep going until the blood starts to gush.”

I helped in the woodshop, one of your favorite hobbies.

And I usually painted, since your brushwork was quite sloppy.

When I learned how to drive, you let me borrow your truck

And didn’t tell mom when I hit a ditch and got stuck.

So what does this mean as I come to the end

To have a grandpa that is also my friend.

You taught me and groomed me and molded my life

Now I have a good job, beautiful son, and wonderful wife.

So don’t worry dear Grandpa your memory is not gone

For I am your namesake, the journey goes on.

I am soooo going to miss my Grandpa and the visits we had several times a week.  But, as I looked out my front window this morning, I noticed the trees that he gave me are starting to bloom.  It’ll be a constant reminder that he’ll always be with us, but I just wish heaven wasn’t so far away!  I am trying to remember how lucky I am to have had an amazing Grandpa for 35 years and to have had such a great relationship with him.

Family

I have one living Grandparent.  As a child, I referred to him as Grandpa Kreke.  He was the guy who was always teasing me.  Every phone call had him asking how my gizzard was doing.  Every meal had him serving a dime sized amount of food and asking, “Is that enough?”  Birthdays always included a box of rocks from Grandpa.  He was always asking how many boyfriends I had and if they were coming to Christmas (even if I was only 10).  We only lived a country block away, so we spent plenty of time together over the years.  Grandpa loved farming and everything that went with it.  To this day, one of his goals is to get back up in the combine.  I try to visit at least once a week and love that my boys have gotten to know him so well too.  They are used to his teasing and Kolten knows that after a handshake, Grandpa will be offering him cookies and a soda.  Grandpa Chuck (as we now refer to him) is 91 and has really been going downhill recently.  After several hospitalizations and a stint in a nursing home for rehab this summer, Grandpa has required around-the-clock care at home.  He needs help with most daily activities.  Grandpa’s legs cause him lots of pain and he doesn’t have much strength.  The last several months have brought new “toys” such as a hospital bed, walker, lift chair, portable toilet, and now a walker with an attached seat.  My mom, aunt, and uncle spend several hours every day making sure that his needs are being met.  They put their own lives on hold to make sure that they are available when he needs them.  Whether a middle of the night phone call, trip to the hospital or doctor, purchasing sodium-free groceries, picking up medicines, paying his bills, giving him a shower, and arranging schedules for the outside caregivers, and simply spending time with him, they do all they can to help out.  I often worry about my Mom and her hectic schedule at a time in life when she should be slowing down.  She stops by Grandpa’s house each morning before teaching all day.  She then goes straight back to Grandpa’s from 4-6 each evening.  Saturday and Sunday plans have to revolve around her shift with Grandpa.  I know that it has to get tiring, but I can see that she loves her father and would do anything she could for him.  This takes sacrifice, she isn’t able to go to all of her grandkids’ activities or take trips out-of-town.  The simple luxury of heading home after a hard day to put your feet up or run to get groceries are not a part of her life right now.   I’m confident that she will never regret the time she is getting to spend with him.  I’m so happy that my boys are around to witness this….they sure are seeing a great example of what family is all about!

I love this picture of Kolten and Grandpa from several years back.

Grandpa Chuck and Kendall

Grandpa and I in the summer of 2009

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.