It started out to be just right after Dieter's death- neighbors were very empathetic, I was invited to many happenings at this wonderful RV Resort in Central Florida. Some of them acted to be like members of my immediate family. And I must say, that the spirit of the residents, being mostly snowbirds, were all I needed to feel not lonesome. I got invitations to Happy Hours and happenings in the Zephyr Palms RV Resort, and I loved to be cared for. Before most of them were leaving at the end in April anyway, but this year, the global corona virus pandemic occured, and all normal plans and habits were thrown out of our lives. So many of my neighbors had to stay here longer because of governmental laws....we had to talk to each other from afar, no hugs, which I like, no "get-togethers" for dinners or drinks. The mood was in the deepest point, at least for me, since 1945. Music via my computer - and having my cat Ellie as a being I can talk to all the time, are my soul's rescue. I am really glad, that Dieter did not have to experience this virus. It must feel good, to flirt with nice angels above. I am not jealous about that, he deserves it, he gained uncounted plus points, when he was the one to made my life wonderful with his Aries spirit, to take the world by storm. But life goes on..... I hope, I will be able to report to my friends next time with a very positive new post. Thank you all for being my friend, when you read this, you must be. You guessed it, after reading this: I am fine!
Since my last post, Dieter felt more weak every day, and on Dec. 10. he slid right off the end of his bed, where he was seated. Called 911.. Having been in Advent Health Hospital in Zephyrhills for 3 days, he was transported to Encompass Health in Brooksville again, to the Stroke Rehab. After one week being there, he had a Medical Emergency , and he was transported to Oak Hill Hospital in Brooksville. My camperfriend Grace and her husband Matthew drove me on 2 days to Brooksville, and on the last visit I agreed to have Dieter transported to a local Hospice in Zephyrhills, just a good mile from our Resort. The next morning, on Christmas Day, I visited him. He did not seem to recognize me and never changed his position in bed. He slept. Right after having some lunch at home, I drove to him again. He died in my arms shortly after 4 PM.
That is a very short version of all these events. I am alone now, but my memories of our happy times together will hopefully stay with me for a long time to come.
Happy New Year , my family and friends, stay healthy and feel peaceful!
We wish all relatives and friends a wonderful and stressfree time before Christmas! One more candle is added each Sunday until we have 4 candles burning. The next big event is Christmas!
Advent, Advent, 1 Kerzlein brennt - erst eins, dann 2 und 3 und 4 - - und dann ist Weihnachten !
Beginning of August my hubby showed signs of confusion which I thought came along with the recuperation from the surgery. His physical strength deteriorated further into the next month, he lost his appetite completely, could not sleep and started halluzinating. On August 16. I called 911 again to have him transported into Advent Health Hospital in Zephyrhills. He landed in the Primary Stroke Center in the hospital to lay in bed there again for one week. On August 23. he was transported from there to the Stroke Rehab Center Encompass Health in Brooksville, FL. Mental and physical exercises were dominating the time spent there ( 15 Hours per week ), next to the hemodialyses, which were done in that center too. On Sept. 6th he was transported home into my care. He had a Rollator to help him walk.
Since 18 days he is home now, had 2 follow-up visits with doctors next to the 3 dialyses per week - and he has home care orchestrated by Pasco County, 3x per week physical/occupational exercises and Nurses visits.
We received a telephone number to call the Area Agency of Aging to receive free help of all kind when needed, to fullfill the wish to stay at home and out of a nursing home. So far we want to stay independent. But this non-profit Pasco County agency will be surely contacted by us for a registration when we feel that the time has finally come......
Since I have to drive Dieter around wherever he needs to be, I pleaded to get another car. Dieter agreed. We spent the entire afternoon on Sept. 22. in a dealership in Lutz, FL, to leave our 20-year old C3500 Chevy Truck ( dually with an 8 foot bed and an heavy hitch fixed on the bed to tow a heavy RV) there and drive off in the evening with a white 2016 Hyundai Accent - and monthly payment to make during the next 5 years. MY (!) car is a woman's dream, after I had driven my last sedan in Pennsylvania 20 years ago, I think I am in driver's heaven. The parking will surely be very different, I mean easy.
We both hope that the fall will be better regarding health. The sommer was a torment for Dieter as well as for me. Hopefully his strong will to get better holds on. The slowly trickling in snow-birds from the north will provide more life around us in the park, we can sit outside again without being baked to a crisp by the relentless hot Florida sun.
With a greeting from our lot 61 in Zephyr Palms RV Park - here is the picture:
In June 2019 it was decided by Dieter's heart doctor that he has to have his aortic heart valve replaced. Meantime we were heading from one appointment to another on days of non-dialysis, which included St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, to have all the preliminary consultations and tests done.
On June 26. his ophthalmologist performed a Laser treatment on Dieter's R eye (AMD) and at the same time diagnosed him with having Shingles in his R eye. Antibiotica and drops were prescribed. On July 3. we were the last time in Tampa (25 miles one way) before I had to call 911 on July 5. to rush Dieter to the local hospital because of several rectal bleedings. A colonoscopy was performed and he was released on the 9. with the diagnosis Diverticulosis.
I had to drive him to the hospital in Tampa on July 15. for admitting - the TAVR (valve replacement) was scheduled to be performed on the 18. That was BTW the first time that I drove our big truck via Interstates after having not driven the truck at all for 9 years.
The surgeon informed me on the phone July 18. that the procedure went very well. 15 minutes later the Pulmonologist called me and asked for permission to perform a bronchoscopy after the team had him connected to a machine to empty his lungs from a lot of fluids. I said Yes. On that day, after he woke up, he got his dialysis. How much more can an 86-year old man take in such a short time frame, from February ?? He was released from the hospital on Saturday the 20. of July - - and of course - I had to drive there to get my hubby. I was not visiting him during these 5 days - I needed these quiet days alone at home to be of help for Dieter when he recuperates.
Meanwhile the pain in Dieter's R eye drove him almost nuts, he was ready to scream. The internet told me that the pain of this kind is "unbearable or excruciating". Since Dieter has a high tolerance of any pain as long as I know him, it was putting me down mentally, I felt so sorry for him. During some nights then I was woken up almost every 2 hours and asked for eye drops, I hardly had any sleep. I had to do it anyway, Dieter was too weak to rise out of bed to do it, his hands were too weak to even hold a little bottle. That was also a time when all the nerves in his bowels did not seem to function anymore. Trips to the "john" were too late. That normalized by now. In addition it all seemed to have an impact on his veins and arteries... when I retrieved him from dialysis, I had to deal with massive blood stains.....Good thing that Hydrogen Peroxide is cheap and readily available in this country.
The following week there is no other engagement than the 3 dialyses - hurray! We will cherish those "free hours" . Today I drove shopping and brought home 10 big pieces of "Hot Wings" - he ate all his 5 of them in one sitting. Is this a sign of him gaining at least some of his strength back shortly - or what??? He is more silent now in enduring his eye pain, drops are dispended in lesser doses. It will be a long time for recovery - it had also taken a long time for his kidneys to fail. He was diagnosed with Renal Amyloidosis in 2004, and at that time oncologists thought he would lose his kidneys any moment. He didn't. It took him 15 years.
We have a new heart doctor. He promised us to work on Dieter's well-being by searching deep into his heart history. We had to dig out all the records I have about it. He wants to look into the bleeding/blood thinner connection. After what we told him, his opinion is that Warfarin should have been discontinued after one year of the hospital release from Flagler hospital in St.Augustine, Florida in 2005. We had a very long conversation with him on Friday. His opinion is that his heart fibrillation and lung emboly in 2005 was the reason the Coumadin (Warfarin) got prescribed, because he was 3 full weeks in the ICU. Dieter has no history before that of any heart failure or stroke or else. He had a hole in his heart, which was fixed finally in 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona, but that has nothing to to with it. He will employ modern tests to verify his thoughts and he might prescribe a medicine to prevent any bad heart events in the future. Warfarin is finally out now. He has to take Plavix for one year, which is mandatory after replacing organs or organ parts to be not rejected by one's body.
Everything looks up now - please - may the last month of the subtropical Florida summer be a good one for us! Big Thanks to all who supported us spiritually. Nobody needs to worry about me. I feel good. Even my knee feels better after having to move around more. My kidneys are old and weak too, but I am symptom-free. Otherwise I am one of those "sturdy" Prussian girls which grow in strength the more is asked of them. Caring is also my former job description.
♥♥ Hope and Love never dies. ♥♥ Karin.
The last two months were so eventful and so crazy - I have to think hard to bring it all under one hat - so to speak....but I will try.
Beginning with a wonderful event, anticipated with a kind of wonder - on February 10th we were visited by Dieter's half-sister Ursula. We knew that Dieter's father had produced a love child towards the end of World War II, but that was all we ever knew from other sources than Dieters's dad.. One of our relatives living in Pennsylvania had worked with a geneology site and the result was that it turned out to be true. The picture we saw on fb confirmed it right away, she had Dieter's eyes - and it turned out later that both of them shared the disliking of working with the internet. We talked that evening for about 3 hours till Ursula went to her hotel in town. Dieter looked exhausted and almost sick. Towards the morning hours of Febr. 11th I was awakening to Dieter's call to me that he feels very sick. He said: "I am going to faint". He was standing in our small RV Bath room and slid down unconsciously in front of the vanity with his head hanging over the 2 steps down to our kitchen/living quarters.
Even though I have been working in the nursing field for almost all my life, I did not see the severity of this short fainting. He went back to bed, asked for a
Tylenol, a bit of water and said: It all will be fine in the morning. It was'nt.
I called 911 and the paramedics came rushing in right after I completed my call. Ursula were wondering what was going on when she did not hear anything from me for some early morning hours.
In the meantime ( I had driven to the hospital with the emergency vehicle) I learned in the ER that Dieter was seriously sick. His Lab results and technical tests indicated that he had a bowel obstruction and his kidneys were in the process of shutting down completely. I called Ursula and she came with her rental car to the hospital, we talked shortly with Dieter and then left together. She had already looked out for a restaurant to provide lunch for her - and now we were driving to the same fish restaurant and had dinner, the both of us. We talked things over for some hours and established a pretty good bond of being related. I knew already from Dieter that he had liked her. The rest is future!! The other day Ursula and I visited Dieter together, so she could say "Auf Wiedersehen" to him.
Meaanwhile our oldest grandson had told us that his daughter - our oldest great grand daughter - comes from France with her mother to see her Opa and Oma again. We had seen her one time only before on our visit to Germany in 2012. We were also looking forward to that visit, as you can imagine! On Febr. 15th that meeting took place in Dieter's hospital room ( he was now in the Cardiology since 2 days because he had had "A-Fib" and a heart valve not working correctly). Our great grand daughter is 12 years old and speaks French and a little bit of German and her mother speaks French and Emglish. Dieter was glad he could do a little bit of conversation with her in German, and I translated it to her mother into English. That has been an 2 hour event, sadly, but we were glad anyway that it could happen at all. The other day Dieter had surgery to relieve his bowel obstruction, with was caused by adhesions from his earlier almost fatal bowel blockage surgery in 2005 in St.Augustine, Florida. That same day Dieter received his first hemodialysis in the Zephyrhills Hospital ( Febr. 16th 2019).
Since then Dieter has today his 22nd dialysis overall.
Dieter had been released from the hospital on Febr. 28th. At first he had to drive for the dialysis traetments from our park to Land O' Lakes, a city just 20 miles from us, but it was a route under construction and involved the Interstate 75 partially. I drove with him all the time - just in case he would have needed my assistance. It has been awfully time-consuming and nerve shattering. We have a Dialysis Center just 3.2 miles away from our park, but no chair was available for Dieter. All the "snowbirds" ( campers from the northern states) contributed to the almost no available chairs in your neighborhood.
I am happy to report that Dieter is served by the nearest Dialysis Center in town now, only 3.2 miles, as I have stated. And I stay home. He was assigned the third shift - meaning being there at 3:30 PM ( 15:30 Uhr). Sometimes the Center calls him in earlier. So he is at home again mostly before 8 PM ( 20:00 Uhr). On Dialysis days ( Tueday, Thursday. Saturday) we have the main course on midday, on the non-dialysis days we have it like we always had - lunch at noon and dinner at 5 PM.
We had to follow up on "Follow-Up" visits with all specialists involved ( Family Doctor, Cardiologist, Nephrologist, Gastroenterologist, 2 Surgeons and the Eye Doctor, who treats Dieter with Injections for his age-related macular degeneration. Since Dieter has to take a blood thinner since 2005, he has now to report for the Warfarin check every week. Hopefully this will be soon behind us. Besides all that, I have to order new medicines, the heart doctor will try to get his heart under control without katheterizing it to fix the valve.
From now on our goal is to see the doctors only when absolutely necessary. Dieter is still somewhat weak, can walk short distances only and his frequently tired, specially at mornings. But he sleeps good, has good appetite - - and is able to drive our "monster-truck" wherever it has to go !!
By now our park - and any other parks - start to empty out. Our cat Ellie can see farther ahead instead of just staring at the next motorhome or Fifth Wheel or Trailer.
I am sorry for the long read, but I hope you all get your insights out of it - - like being glad about your status quo. If you have any doubts about any personal ailments or health issues - please - refer to all the search engines available in our modern days ( just type the question you actually have ) - -and afterwards make appointments with your health care providers to keep you going.
Friends and relatives know that I am a "strong woman", which does not mean that I cannot fall into a deep hole sometimes - but I know how to get myself out of it just by relaxing, hear some favorite music, talk to friends and have a drink.
I will spare you of some pictures I took of Dieter while he was not "photogen", but I changed my fb cover photo to remind myself what my man meant to me all the time. Love is my religion, and I stick to it to my end.
Best wishes to all visitors of this site!
Time is flying, the older one gets the faster it goes.....During the summer months we had our rubber roof serviced ( cleaned, caulked and painted ) and Dieter washed the entire trailer. Every physical action is very tiring for us. When we drive shopping about 3 times per month to buy groceries, I need the entire afternoon to put everything away - meaning emtying boxes into glasses and into containers with screw lids to prevent ant invasions. Dieter has aching legs and muscles and I have a left knee problem. My walking is more of a limping sometimes - and it hurts. But being careful by walking and using the steps with the greatest attention prevented me sofar from falling. I worked in Homes for the Elderly and sick and I know what a broken hip can do to me.
As a housewife I cook every day, bake infrequently, clean as I have to .......
,,,,and stay in contact with relatives and friends via the Internet. The computer is a wonderful tool in our world. I learned a lot, have fun and laughter in facebook, wrote my book with it, blogged and worked on websites. Writing letters is easy and working with pictures also. Our modern world with advanced technics has its devlish sites but also its good and helpful ones.
Our Zephyr Palms RV Park here is fully booked, but several empty spaces are still waiting for people who wanted or had to be at home or with relatives in other states before coming to Zephyrhills - after all holidays. We have direct neighbors now, each of them having a dog of smaller breed. One is an elderly nice man and the other ones are a very friendly couple in their 60's, I assume. We welcomed them yesterday on New Years Day with a fresh cup of coffee.
We had a Pork Roast with all trimmings at Christmas Day and a Duck Roast yesterday, both times with German Potato Dumplings as one side dish. We had no "mum" to participate in the clubhouse dinners, we wanted to be alone.
Our Immune Systems are working fine, we had no cold or fevers in the last 2 years, not even a runny nose. Our blood tests were normal for our age, low cholesterol, liver working fine, our kidneys are in ailment state 3, but we are having no complaints. Our ticker is strong and regular.
Our cat Ellie is a joy to live with, she is obidient like a good dog, does nothing to anger us in any form, she never plays with our stuff laying on the desk or the table. She plays with a long shoe lace and a ping-pong ball and sits outside with Dieter and then she leads Dieter on the leash for walks and checking out the neighborhood- haha.
Here are the latest pictures of Dieter and myself .
Even though our last location at Magnolia Trace RV Park was seen and felt by us as paradise, we had to move again. Dieter had too much to work to keep our trailer clean. Loads of Oak leaves on the roof, brown stains and run-offs....and invasion of all kind of wood critters, the big spiders topped all those. We were parked directly underneath old huge oak trees - agains all principles we had over the last 20 years to be parked underneath open skies.
It has been a hard decision after living there for 13 months. We had very nice neighbors - left and right - and our landlords treated us like family! But both men understood our move. Dieter is 85 and I am 82. Who knows how long we will be able to work so hard as we had to now. We moved the trailer on June 1st, big items the next and over-next day in the truckbed, including treated lumber boards to put again underneath the 6 wheels to minimize sinking deeper in the Florida soil and stabilize the unit. On June 4st Dieter hooked the trailer onto the truck again, moved straight up, so we could place the boards into the wheel imprints...then back again. Hurray! All was even and went well. Then came - of course - all connecting again. We also enjoy now a new awning, which was installed before we left. The old one was 19 years old and not useful anymore.
Today we were connected via secure cable to the internet again. Wonderful !!
You should see us mowing around doing housework and laying hands on the new lot. Every step we take we have to think of first. This tiredness will hold on for some time.....
Our new address is: Dieter and Karin Bartsch, 35120 State Road 54 # 61, Zephyrhills, FL 33541. Phone numbers did not change.
Our Park is Zephyr Palms RV Park and is also surrounded by trees, but this time we have open skies above. The sun is intense and our air conditioner has to work a little more - but we are used to it during our active travels.
Underneath some pictures. Keep in mind that all the "snowbirds" are in the northern states right now and return with their RV's in fall. You will also notice that our trailer is very sunny inside now. It was nice to look directly into the dense woods, but we had to have the light turned on all day. The oak tree you see in the first picture is located at the other side on our street about 50 foot away.
Author : Karin
I love to write and work on my websites. The computer is a fascinating and useful tool.