Category Archives: cancer

Saturday Night Again

It’s Saturday again.  Saturday nights are the worst for me.  Although Kramer died on a Sunday, memories always come to me on Saturday.  He’d want it to be remembered as the Sunday.  He fought hard to live until Sunday.

That last week Kramer was with us was a bit of a whirlwind.  The Sunday before on the May 26th he started talking about how he wanted to go to the Memorial Day observance here in town.  He had never gone as he was always farming.  This is the year he was going to go.  He could so he was going to….so Kelli and I started scrambling.  We knew he needed a wheelchair.  She could borrow one.  We knew he needed oxygen, we could get a bag to hook on the wheelchair.  We did what we could to try to make it work.

Memorial Day came.  We started getting things in place.  He was dressed and then “had a spell” only to realize he wasn’t well enough to go.  He was so bummed.

Tuesday came.  Kayla was suppose to drive him to Lacrosse but I could see that Kramer wasn’t well enough for anyone but me to take him. That was the day of the PET scan and when we found out he only had a few weeks to live.  Here’s the post on that if you missed it.  I didn’t tell all of you until Friday.  I had blog posts already scheduled and I needed a bit of time.

On Tuesday the scrambling started.  We had these things on our list: Continue reading

Party Day

Even though funerals are often thought of as sad times…

…our family is trying really hard to look at today, the day we lay Kramer to rest, as a party day. We keep telling Carver and Scotty that we are having a party for Grandpa.

In the photo above the flag at the fire station here in town is being flown at half staff.

The fire department and first responders are taking on a big part of the funeral today.  I’ll see if I can get some pictures of it all to share with you.  We couldn’t be more impressed with the outpouring of love that they have sent out to our family.

All the fire trucks and rescue squads were cleaned and polished.

We got the event center all ready yesterday for the party…and yes, it will be party.  Kramer wanted it that way and that’s what we intend to try to do.  He was a big guy with a big personality and deserves a big send off.

Kramer and I were both from southern Minnesota and wake/viewings were different than they are here in Iowa.  In Iowa there are often lines of people snaking around of people who were waiting to give their condolences to the family.  We have been in lines that are an hour or more long.  The family receiving the visitors were typically in a line along the casket.  Visitors have to great each family member even if they don’t them.  It’s very respectful but can be a little bit awkward.

In Minnesota, at least at the funerals we attended, there seemed to be more of a relaxed atmosphere.  The family might have a couple people at the casket but the rest of the family mingled….more like at a wedding when the parents of the bride and groom mingle.  There isn’t a line of family that all must be greeted. This is more the style that Kramer liked…and that’s what we are attempting to do tomorrow.  Our family will be out and around mingling.  People can find us and pass along their condolences but it will be much more of a party atmosphere.  Being the burial will have already happened and there is no casket to attend, we are hoping that we might be able to achieve more of a party atmosphere.

We’ll see.  Either way…We’re going to give him the biggest send off we can.  Sure there will be tears but our hope is that there are many more moments filled with joy and remembrance.

Work Night at the “Fire Station”

On Thursday night I got a call from Craig.  I was in Lacrosse in the hospital with Kramer.  He said, “Hey the firemen got done with their stuff at the fire station and we decided to come to your house and do some work.  How wide do you want the landscaping around the fence by the garage?”

What??  How cool.  Then he went on to explain that the house siding that had hail damage had been replaced.

He said the that trees in front of the house were being trimmed.

Right now the trees hang a little low for vehicles passing by our house.  They needed to be trimmed and I worried how I was going to get that done.  No worries now.

I told Craig what I had in mind for the landscape and plants along the fence.

Then I said, “Craig, one more thing…can you snap some pictures so I can blog about it?’  Craig said, “Already on it”.  Oh I love that guy.

By the time we were done talking, I had tears.  The help we’ve been getting is totally overwhelming.  We so appreciate it.

Little did I know they tilled the garden….

Little did I know that this was all done while Craig had Carver and Gannon in toe too.

I’m guessing Mel, one of the fireman’s gals, came and helped with the boys as Kalissa was working the overnight.

I went back up to Kramer’s room and told him.  He laughed.  He said, “You know, with the timing of this, I doubt that they did anything a the fire station.  I think they only went to our house.”  I believe it.

I totally believe it.

The firemen in our town are seriously the best.

They have asked and offered to do a benefit for us.  We’ve put it off.  Doing this was PERFECT.  We couldn’t be more impressed with them.  You hear all sorts of things like “Firemen are a band of brothers”.  These guys have proved that!!

There are young people who flock to the city for jobs….I think that at times they miss out on the “community” of living in a small town.  This is priceless…it truly is.  We are so blessed to have these people in our lives.  We can’t thank them enough!!

Hospital Update

We didn’t have the best day yesterday.  Kramer is a mystery and continues to be.

When we came to the ER on Tuesday we were assessed and quickly moved on to Lacrosse.  We started with a different team of doctors but then on Thursday we got out old team back.  We can’t say enough good things about Doctor Leuer.  He’s got the best bedside manor.  He talks to both of us and is VERY thorough with explanations.  I love him.

The initial thought on this was to do a broncoscopy and see what was in the lungs.  There has been such a problem deciphering what on the chest CT scan in cancer and what is pneumonia.  Doing a “bronc” would help determine that.  Well the powers that be can’t just “decide” that.  Pulmonary and Oncology have to weigh in all of that.

Pulmonary said “sure”….Oncology said “ok”…our doctors said wait. How would recovery be for him after the broncosocopy? uGH.  Well being Kramer is on oxygen, that complicates things.  He’d likely need to be on a respirator for a couple days if they do that.  UGH. UGH.  UGH.

So the plan changed a little.  The question now became “Did Kramer swallow something the ‘wrong’ way and that caused the pneumonia?”  That brought in the speech pathologist to check Kramer’s swallowing.  Then that brought this…. Continue reading