Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Symptoms and symptoms...

In the absence of data that an MRI could provide and on my 50th day of constant shocking in my hands, my GP decided to add duloxetine for pain management.  I have been of two minds about trying the SNRI drug.  It is an antidepressant, after all, and there is a stigma about taking those meds in the medical community ... yet another reason to be labeled a "head case."  But the pain in my hands ... being shocked constantly ... is driving me nuts.  I agree to try the medication.

It's been five days and I wouldn't think that it could be affecting me this strongly, but what I am feeling my therapist says is clearly the duloxetine.  I am numb and basically do not care about anything.  It is a weird, weird state to be in, at least it is to me.  I have lost a bit of weight because I have absolutely no interest in food.  Me!  Me!!  That alone is shocking.  Of course, though, I don't mind the weight loss after all the gabapentin weight gain.  I just ... I just don't like the me that I am right now.  I am hoping this passes.

As far as side effects, the nausea is different from what I usually experience.  A lot more vomiting.  I have crushing headaches.  I have random shocks in my body.  And my lips are tingling.  Fun times.

In reading about duloxetine's help with the neuropathy, I need the dose to be at least 60 mg.  My GP said that I could go up in two weeks, but I'd rather not pay for the medication twice in a month.  My therapist suggested that I take the full 30 days, too.  It is a toss-up between symptoms of side effects and symptoms of neuropathy.  SIGH.

I tell you, the combination of brain fog and IDON'TCARE is making life hard, especially trying to take all of my meds at all the time slots I have throughout the day.  I haven't done much since starting the medication.  Well, other than going to appointments.  I forgot about a prescription at Walmart that was only partially filled, but it seems Walmart also forgot about it.  So, I need to go fetch that.  I had planned to not go out until next Tuesday, but I suppose one trip will be fine.  I am just not up for driving whilst in this IDON'TCARE state.

My sister completely spoiled me for Christmas and her present arrived today.  Normally, I would have already had it put together so that I could photograph it for the world to see, but IDON'TCARE and I am cold.  I am so very cold this winter that I am contemplating throwing my budget out the window and turning the thermostat UP.  I already did that.  I went from 55 to 60 degrees.  But I am still so very, very cold.  Whenever my realtor comes, I turn up the thermostat for her, to 65 degrees, and I feel much better then.  I just don't know how much more that will make my heating bill each month.  However, I am not sure how much more cold I can take.  In any case, I am hoping to put together my gift on the morrow.

For now, I am trying to think about something my therapist asked me to consider:  not saying that I was bad, but that I was terrified.  I was telling her about what happened during the blood flow testing.  I was thinking about how I was not being a good patient and she asked me to explain that.  I said that  I was shaking and crying and pulling away from the tech's touch, making things harder.  But my therapist responded:  you were terrified and lost back in the past.  She said that I was brave for staying and that she was amazed that I made it through that.

I have been turning that over and over in my mind.  I wasn't bad; I was terrified and my responses were natural and understandable.

But then we talked about how I coped with all the disgust and fear that overwhelmed me afterward.  I cut.  It is so hard for me to think about that.  I hate how effective cutting is at coping.  But my therapist insisted that there is no shame in that.  There is no shame in trying to keep myself safe in a way that is less destructive than drinking or drugs and less permanent such as suicide.

I cut and it is as if I am cutting through the maelstrom of emotions, stilling them.  The pain brings all my focus away from what is tossing me about, leaving me desperate for escape.  Then, the wound serves as a ... tool ... for days and days afterwards.  If I become overwhelmed again, I can just press on it and let the pain calm me again.  My therapist said that must be comforting to me.  I do not think that I have ever given thought to that, but it is.  I do not cut all the time and work hard not to, but I as much as I loathe that I have done so I welcome the help when I have a wound on my thigh.  SIGH.

I talked with my GP about it and she asked me to show her.  It took me a while to do so, but I did.  I was surprised at how ... non-plussed she was.  She asked if we could talk about it another time.  I agreed to that because I am trying not to be so ashamed.  That's why my therapist's comments were such a relief, how adamant she was that there was no shame in cutting.  And that she absolutely believes that one day I won't need that Big Gun coping mechanism.

It was a weird, weird conversation to have being so numb and in such a state of IDON'TCARE.  But I suppose she is used to someone trying to acclimate to an antidepressant.  I asked her what happens to someone who takes an antidepressant who isn't depressed.  I've never been diagnosed as such and she doesn't believe that I am.  She said she didn't know.  I do worry about that, especially with the IDON'TCARE permeating my every existence.  But I would really, really, really like an end to the shocking in my hands.

I do welcome the numbness, just now, and the weight loss, for sure.  But to have no interest at all in food?  Cooking has been the only thing that was moving forward in my life, the only area where I have been able to learn and to progress.  And, my goodness, with all the nausea I battle each day, I need my interest in tasty food returned!!

So which symptoms do I choose????

Thursday, December 07, 2017


Yesterday, I woke early to a phone call canceling my MRIs scheduled for the 20th.  I have been so very worried about having my pacemaker turned off for them that a part of me was instantly relieved.  That is, I was so until I learned why my appointment was canceled:  my pacemaker is not rated for MRIs.

When I was learning about the model I was getting, I specifically asked about MRIs because I have them regularly. Well, I had them regularly until I started avoiding them a few years ago.  Avoiding neurologists, rather.  I asked several times in my nervousness.  And yet somehow my leads can be in an MRI, but my pacemaker itself cannot.

I am overwhelmed.

Trying to wrap my mind around this news—news that basically means that I have to have pacemaker surgery again if I want to have an MRI—I went to my blood flow study.  I was told it was an ultrasound.  I assumed that it was something akin to the last blood flow study that I had.  When I arrived, I asked to speak to someone from the pacemaker clinic, because I was absolutely certain the news that I had received was wrong.  Long story short, it was not.

Reeling, the tech told me that I would have to be unclothed, in a gown, would involved my groin and pelvic region, and would take two hours.  I started melting down.

My choice was to leave or to stay.
Leave and not have the data my cardiologist wanted.
Stay and have my PTSD triggered.  Something fierce.

I chose to stay.
I am still triggered.

Afterwards, I thought to cheer myself by getting a Christmas tree.  Only the JERK who did the fresh cut keep cutting and cutting and cutting.  I tried to stop him, but he ignored me.  Rather rudely.  You  know, my being a female and all.  I paid for the tree and brought it home and had an asthma attack carrying it inside.  All before I realized that the bottom of the tree was now so short it would not fit in my stand or pretty much any stand without pruning off quite a bit of the tree.  And, in the process of realizing this, my not-yet-two-year-old-metal-stand broke!

I thought about just ... well ... I decided to go back to Mendard's and ask for a refund.  This was, in part, because Taco Bell put onions on my no-onion bean burrito.  That has happened so frequently I stopped ordering my beloved bean burrito, an order I've been making for three and a half decades, but I just wanted one.  Only, I forgot to open it up in the drive-thru lane to see if there were onions.

I did receive a refund and thought about leaving.  My sister was on the phone and suggested I leave, if that was what I wanted.  She suggested that I just skip Christmas, with all that has been going on with me.  I thought about that.  But I do want a tree.  Although ... I'd like to decorate it the way I wanted, not with all the decorations I've been gifted.   I voiced that thought, since I will be alone this Christmas, and my sister encouraged me to just go look at trees ... and stands.

I choose a tree that was all wrapped up, not knowing what it looked like, because I knew I could easily get it in my car and I could get it into my house by myself with the bear hug method.  It is not exactly a Christmas tree shape, kind of skinny and leaning quite a bit, but it is my tree.  When I got fetched the stand from the attic, I grabbed the box with the tree skirt and the lights.

I thought I would like to decorate the tree with just my glass ornaments and the half-dozen from my childhood, but it is awfully difficult going up and down two sets of stairs.  I think I might just leave the tree as it is.  After all, there won't be any presents underneath it.  And it will be just me looking at it.  It look okay like this, eh?

Today, aside from wrapping the lights around the tree now that the branches have dropped down from being all wrapped up, I finished the frame for the stained glass window that I bought for my haven last March.  [Firewood Man never got a chance to make the frame, so I finally got him to bring me back the window and loan me his miter saw.]  The good news is that I finished.  The bad news is that I broke the second pane of glass again.  That's $28 down the drain!  ARGH.

I decided to just leave the back side open.  What I can do is caulk the top and sides of the frame once it is hung to keep the elements away from the back side of the window.  But I am hanging it on the side of the garage with a roof overhang.  It should be fairly protected.

Overall, I would give myself a C+ on this project.  Clearly my wood skills leave much to be desired.  My only final worry is that the frame will split when it is hung, since I plan to screw it directly into the garage wall.  I have to have help with this part, so maybe the other person (I am assuming/hoping Firewood Man can help) will be so skilled with drilling and screwing that the frame will be fine.  I would like it hung as soon as possible, even knowing that I won't be able to fill the screw holes and paint them until next spring.  I just want to be able to see how my vision for my haven turns out.

I will admit that it took me well over an hour to figure out how to use the glazing points to hold in the window and the pane of glass I have in front of the window.  The way I kept trying to put them in was with the bent pieces parallel to the frame pointing down, as if they were to slip between the glass and the frame.  What you do is have those bits pointing upwards, so you can use them to tap the pointy bit in until those bent prongs rest up against the frame.  It was ever so much easier to put them in when the glazing points are in the right direction and orientation!  SIGH

With the frame completed, I tortured myself on the recumbent bike, showered, and built a fire.  I spent the entire evening clutching Amos and roasting myself before the fire.

I am still overwhelmed.
I am still triggered.
I am still weary of the wretchedness of this life of mine.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Start and stop...

Wanting to DO SOMETHING yet again, I got everything ready to continue working on the frame for the stained glass window.  From the garage, I fetched the two glass panes, the stained glass window, the under frame, and the staple gun.  From the basement, I fetched my drop cloth, pliers, primer, paint, stir sticks, paint triangles, paint brushes, liquid nails, and the doohickey you use to apply sealant or construction adhesive.  It was a lot of work to get everything set up.

I needed to adjust the inner frame, so I pulled out all the staples on the two left side corners and repositioned that piece.  Then, I stapled it back into place, and I added staples to both sides of all four corners.  Finally, I added staples to the back side of all four corners of the outer frame.

After checking and double checking that I could move the glass and the stained glass window in and out of the inner frame, I went to glue the two frame pieces together.  Sadly, the liquid nails had hardened.  It was too old.  And I had broken the 6th rule of construction projects:  Wait until the project is done before making your returns.  I bought a new tube of liquid nails, found a tube in my basement, and then returned the new one when I bought the second glass pane.

The pane of glass that I broke today.

I wanted to SCREAM.  There was no way that I was going to go out and fetch more liquid nails because I went to therapy today.  I have a test on the veins in my legs tomorrow.  And I have another doctor's appointment on Friday.  I can possibly stop by Lowe's tomorrow.  Tonight, I just have to wait.  Be patient.  I stink at that when I want to DO SOMETHING.

Since the balmy weather finally fled tonight, I decided to have a fire and concentrate on not castigating myself for breaking the pane of glass ... for wasting $14.  I am really, really, really tempted to not have a pane of glass in the back, but I do still think that having the stained glass window sandwiched between two panes of glass and sealed with clear caulk  (ah! ... doohickey = caulk gun) is the best way to protect the stained glass window outside.  So, I will be buying liquid nails and yet another pane of glass.  SIGH.

It was rather frustrating to start working and to find myself abruptly stopping.  It is not that I want to finish the project NOW, because I am not going to be able to install it without help (translate that:  without Firewood Man's drill).  But I did want to make progress.  I was hoping to get the priming done and one coat of paint.  But I do not wish to prime until the two pieces are glued together.  Or paint.  Mostly, this is because I need to be sure that gluing the pieces together doesn't make the window no longer fit into the inner frame.  Maybe that is a ridiculous worry, but it is my worry.

The fire?  Well, that was just lovely!  Firewood Man was not able to bring more wood for a couple of weeks and then we had this crazy insane balmy weather.  But tonight we had bitter cold weather due to the wild winds that started yesterday.  So, I was able to roast myself before the fireplace.

Here's a tip for you:  Don't roast your feet before a fire if you are wearing Birkenstocks.  The soles will come unglued from the heat!  Yep, my feet are so cold from Reynaud's that the heat can be intense enough to melt shoe glue and yet not even feel warm to my icy skin!!

I'm colder this winter already, but I do not know why ... unless really you blame my wonky nerves and the autonomic process that keeps you warm.  Last year, I kept the house at 55 degrees.  This year, I had to up it to 60 degrees.  And at that I am still very, very, very cold.  When my realtor comes over, I bump up the heat to 65 and only then find the temperature bearable.  However, I cannot afford keeping the house balmy this winter.  Or any winter for that matter.  But especially this winter.

Despite the cardiologist's certainty that I have venous insufficiency, I am expecting the test results to be normal tomorrow.  I still think that whatever's going on has to do with my heart.  Of course I am probably wrong, given that he is very good at his job.  But I've finally got back to walking on the treadmill and the thing that I keep seeing is that I have breathing problems when my heart rate tops about the 130s.  On the recumbent bike, I just cannot get my heart rate up high enough.  However, it isn't just standing because I can walk at a lower pace and keep my heart rate around 120 and my oxygen sats drop to 91-92, but no lower.  Once I get over 130, my sats start dropping lower and lower and breathing gets harder and harder.  Something is happening.

Of course, to be fair, I will admit that I do not hold out hope that the high resolution CT scan will give any answers either.  Mostly, I think this because, with dysautonomia, normal test results are the norm.  That's why my bum kidney blood work was so surprising to me.  I am not looking forward to the next blood test even though I've gone down—again—on the amount of Celebrex that I take.

No, I cannot think of why my overall heart rate rose in September/October, but the higher it was, the worse the breathing got with any exertion.  High is not good for me.  Why? I cannot think why sometimes my legs go from being swollen to be alarmingly doughy.  But its randomness speaks more to dysautonomia rather than the valves in my veins.

But I will use the opportunity to practice medical optimism during the testing.  Smile and nod and look hopeful!  Hah!!  SIGH.

Yep.  I'll definitely be fetching the liquid nails and glass pane on the morrow.  That way, after the testing, I can distract myself by DOING SOMETHING.  From the testing and from the comprehensive physical exam I'm having on Friday.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Eight days...

I keep trying to write, only to find myself with nothing to say.  Or nothing worth speaking.

It's been a long, long week (or rather eight days), with a few bright spots.  One was getting my replacement refrigerator.  It arrived on Thursday, which made for a long, long day.  I had to empty mine and then re-fill the new one.  The good news is that the new one is much, much better than mine.  Small things, really, that add up to a BIG difference.

For one, there is an extra cubic foot in both the refrigerator and the freezer.  In the freezer, it almost feels as if there is two or even three.  Mostly, this is because of the second bin in the freezer.  Storing things in a bin, things that cannot be stacked easily on a shelf, multiplies space.  Also, the three bins in the freezer door are much deeper and have more space than I can think of how to use.

On the refrigerator side, the best news is that the light box that was at the front of the top of the refrigerator, blocking access to the top shelf is gone.  The light is now in the back corner.  And the top shelf is ginormous.  Every time I look at it, I am amazed anew at just how much space there is and that I never, ever have to tilt my jug of milk in order to put in on the shelf again!  Like the freezer, I have extra space in the refrigerator door bins.  Two are only half full.  Shocking, eh?

The less than good  news is that the two extra shelves in the freezer that I need to manage all my ice packs did not fit in the newer model.  I was able to take them from my original new refrigerator from five years ago and put them into the new refrigerator I bought a year ago.  But I am not able to put them into this one.  They are too narrow.  So, I had to spend far, far, far too much money replacing those.  You see, the side-by-side models only come with three shelves, thinking that you would want a space large enough for a frozen pizza on its side.  Well, yes, maybe, if you didn't have a neurological disorder that made ice packs one of your most prized and needful possessions.  SIGH.

Most of the last week was spent being ill or resting or avoiding my thoughts.

Firewood Man did finally bring me a load of firewood and he did the final mow of the year.  This meant that he also tended to all my leaves.  Well, except for the leaves from the ornamental pear tree out front.  Those are still on the tree!  This was the first year I didn't have to do the raking and bagging and I am deeply relieved and thankful.

I was able to prune the burning bushes for the year.  If I do not, they start growing up over the windows that are above the built-ins in the dining room!  Pruning is not so bad, but cleaning up is rather hard on me.  Too much bending over and getting up from a squat.  I also pruned the weeping cherry as best I could in case I am not able to get it removed.  It is still massive, despite having pruned enough for an entire yard waste bag.

I also worked on refilling my larder, which was getting a bit low.  I now have 10 different options in my freezer for meals and one dessert option.  I have been a bit lax on refilling those containers.  I would like to try a new recipe or two, but it was good to do a bit of cooking.

Finally, I started work on building a frame for the stained glass window I bought for my haven last spring.  Firewood Man hasn't had time to do so.  I spent a long time thinking about what I could make and asked to borrow his miter saw.  I have much of it done, but have not had the energy to pick the project back up.  I still need to work on the inner frame, how the window will be held in place. Then priming and painting.  But I have the outer frame done and ready to paint.  When it is all done, I will still need help installing it.

So, some productivity and some cooking and a lot of just ... being.

I've mentioned before that I wondered why the authors of my favorite dysautonomia blog stopped writing.  I get it.  Life becomes too overwhelming.  And there are no words sufficient to speak such a life.

Since I started therapy (for the umpteenth time) last April, all I have been doing is be overwhelmed.  I keep thinking that I am wasting her time because we just ... I just ... well, I spill out how I've been overwhelmed the intervening week and we never get around to ... the hard stuff. 

All I do these days is manage.  I manage pain and manage medications and manage symptoms and manage ... well, manage and endure.  For I was going to say that I manage my fear.  But I am not managing that.  Would that I were.  SIGH.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A difficult day...

Yesterday, I tended to the burning bushes in my back yard.  Thankfully, we've had a bit of a warm spell, so I didn't have to work in the bitter cold.  They held onto their leaves so very late this year!

They grow so well that I have to whack them back each fall.  The one year I didn't, they grew over the windows above them!

Whacking them back is not too terribly difficult with the electric hedge clippers ... as long as I do not cut through the power cord.  I've done that three times since owning them.  SIGH.  Not this year, though!

The hard part is the clean-up afterwards.  I used the blower, but it still meant a whole lot of bending over and squatting and standing.  Those two things are what make me faint the most.  If not syncope, then pre-syncope.  Imagine trying to do your yard work whilst battling to remain conscious the entire time.

Such is my life.

Today, I've been battling this terrible drowsiness and dizziness all day long.  I woke up around 1:00 in the afternoon, took Amos out, and then collapsed on the sofa for another three hours.  Then, I took my 4:00 meds, fed Amos, and slept for another two hours.  I took my 6:00 meds, struggled to stay awake until my 7:00 meds, and fell asleep.

I couldn't stay awake until nearly 9:00 in the evening.  That means I was sleeping, mostly, from 2:00 AM until 9:00 PM!  It was as if I somehow took extra of my nerve pain medications.  It's been the weirdest of days.

Amos, though, has been on his very, very, very best behavior.  Normally, when I try to sleep on the sofa in the afternoon, Amos is busy defending the homestead, which keeps me away.  Today, however, Amos was busy snuggling with his puppy momma.

I'd rather not crawl into bed, but it is past midnight (though I'll back date this to keep the entry on the right day for my remembering) and I don't want to stay up all night if I could actually sleep some before whatever bodily misery sets in in the wee hours of the morning.

This morning, I spent hours and hours yo-yoing with my blood sugar.  Crash-correct.  Crash-correct.  Crash-correct.  I loathe when my body does that.  Middle of the night crashes are bad enough, but they are almost unbearable when I cannot find a balance.  Each subsequent crash leaves me even more frightened and insensible.  SIGH.

Still, that doesn't explain why I couldn't stay awake today.  What a strange day after a rather rough night.  Still, there was Amos.  How blessed am I by my beloved Fluffernutter?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Another mistake...

I made a mistake.

I made a mistake that I think I should have known better than to make.  Sometimes, I can give myself a pass, thinking about the things I haven't learned or learned wrongly that I am trying to learn now.  Sometimes, I can by thinking about all the things in my life swirling around my head right now.  Even so, I made a mistake.

I really, really, really like one of the maids who comes to clean.  She is soothing to me, even though I am having strangers in my house.  Because of that, we chat.  We chat and I talk to her as if she is a friend ... or at least a work friend.  But she is not.

There has been some changes in the other women who come, and lately, that has been her best friend.  But that woman is not a good fit.  Things get missed.  I've been asked to check things over as each floor is finished.  I do.  And her friend doesn't not respond well to pointing out what still needs to be done.  This past clean, she had a small meltdown and her actions and words had me wanting to leave my own home.

I was up thinking about what happened two nights in a row before deciding to speak to the manager who manages my service.  She was kind and gracious and understanding.  She told me that there are some women who just don't fit and gave me an example of a much beloved maid who's also had clients who've asked she not return.  She said she would handle things for me, because I was worried about having the women I like coming learn her best friend isn't going to be coming back.

The mistake?  The maid and I connected on Facebook.

Yesterday, I saw her anger online.
I knew.
And then I saw her unfriend me.

It was a mistake to have made the Facebook connection because mine is a personal account, not one that is at least a mixture of personal and professional.  And this isn't a personal connection.  It is a professional one.

I made a mistake.

I made a mistake in treating her as if she were a friend.  I made a mistake in connecting with her on Facebook.  I made a mistake in not addressing the concern with her best friend the first time it came up in the house.  I was so worried about hurting this woman's feelings that I allowed for something to ... well, to worsen rather than nip it in the bud.  It was clear her friend did not want to be cleaning my house.  Her comments.  Her reactions.  All that she regularly missed.

It is my most fervent hope that this wonderful woman who has been on my team since the beginning  will still come to clean next month, but I have no real expectation that that might happen.  So, I have four weeks to rehearse having a whole new team to get used to coming to clean.  And to think about not using the time they are here as time to ... I don't know ... practice, maybe ... practice visiting.  They are not company.  They are there to work.

Excuse me whilst I go and kick myself in the backside a few more times.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Dream job...

[Expanded from a musing I made on Facebook last night.]

Last night, my sister and I watched "Hidden Figures" together, syncing up our DVRs.  It was interesting because she knew that our father was a part of the space program in a way that I did not ... at least not until his funeral.  She remembers him.

Watching the movie, she mused how she was ... well, she went to school with the children of astronauts and she couldn't understand why he didn't want to be one.  And she was angry that he didn't go on the summer vacations with us, but would stay home to work.

She realized, though, after his funeral and reflecting on this movie that my father was working his DREAM job.  He didn't want to be in space.  He wanted to help send others by getting to do the math! Such an engineer nerd he was!!

Her comment made me truly appreciate the scenes with the IBM machine that was brought in to the program.  No one knew what to do or could fathom the relationship IBM would have with the space program in the coming years.  But I knew that machine would bring my father into the fold in the years to come.  And, according to my sister, bring him to his BLISS.

There was a fundamental shift that took place in what I know of my father watching "Hidden Figures" with my sister.  She grew up with a different father than I did, having both more time with the two of them still together and the memories of my parents still being married.  It struck me that my brother had no memories of such, being too young when my parents divorced.  He has no anchor in his life of living with his father full-time.

And, to be honest, a lot of what I know of my father has been filtered through my mother.  As a child, I believed all that she said.  But I have come to realize the pain and bitterness of her divorce colored his view of him and the stories she chose to tell me.  She also played games with him using us children.  

Recently, I learned that one of the greatest griefs that my father bore was not having his children by his side at the funeral of his father.  It is a bitterness that still remains with my step-mother, remembering the agony of her spouse at that time.  I do not remember his death or the funeral.  From what I understand, instead of teaching us to love and support my father, my mother didn't encourage us to go.  I am not sure if it is possible to know if she prevented us, the way that my father and step-mother believed or if she merely allowed us to give into our selfish nature.  But she did fail in parenting us to support and encourage our father.  

My sister just had her birthday and I spent four weeks trying, long distance, to get my teenage nephews to have a card and a present for their mother.  I learned last year that they haven't done so, at least since her husband left seven years ago.  In those seven years, their father has not saw fit to teach them to be loving, supportive, and encouraging to their mother.  He has failed them as a parent and has missed such an incredibly opportunity to mold them into the men that they could become.

Watching the movie, I found myself wanting to weep—save for the dratted lack of tears in my eyes thanks to Sj√∂gren's Syndrome—for the father that I did not know, the one I could have known if my mother had had a different response to her divorce.  It made me admire my sister all the more, for although she has had many opportunities to drag down her ex-husband, she has worked very hard to cover his failings as a father and bend over backwards, even to her detriment, to try to include him in their lives outside of his weekends with them.  I am envious of my nephews for that.

Anyway, when I first saw the movie, it gutted me.  For I know my father would have LOVED watching it and talking about his time when he joined the space program just a short while later.  Gosh!  I just know the authentic film locations chosen by the crew would have hand him waxing on and on about his work.  Though not always in the present during our movie-watching years, my father could recount the past with ease.  I dearly, dearly wish this movie had been made when he could have seen it.

Like I said. Gutted.

But, watching it with my sister, I was able to borrow a bit of her excitement of re-living that time with a dad who woke her up, scooped her out of bed, plopped her in front of the TV, and said, "You have to see this."

What? The moon landing!

I was able to share her joy of him as a father and I got to better understand what I learned at the funeral.  He worked on the space program, including the Mercury Program, the Apollo Program, Skylab, and the Shuttle Program.  At his funeral, I was astounded to learn all this and wondered why there was such a distance in our family, why so little is really known about close family members.  I also learned that he was well-known for mentoring young engineers and helping to guide their careers.  Men who remained grateful for his help their entire lives.

Such energy and purpose of those years!
So much pulling together the same oars, despite great obstacles!

"Hidden Figures" is a truly beautiful and profound movie, one made all the better viewing it through my sister's eyes.  Of course, now I need to watch "Apollo 13" again!