Monday, January 13, 2014

My Old Favorite, the African Stripe Baby Quilt

 A new baby girl is coming into the world later this spring and I'm creating yet another African Stripe Baby Quilt.  I found this wonderful inspiration fabric at my local quilt shop, the Studio Stitch.  It's called "Fairy Magic" and is part of the Riddles and Rhymes collection by Tina Givens for Free Spirit by Westminster Fibers.  It will be the wide border around the striped fabrics center.  The dark blue thin border is from my stash. The addition of the borders parts from Kaffe Fassett's original design, but the striped fabric set in alternate directions is all his genius.
I'm getting ready to pin baste the layers together.  The backing fabric is flannel print of sky with fluffy clouds.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Coming up for air

Our last eight months have been spent in a continuing journey of illness and pain for my poor husband, Jim.  It took several months after he initially was plagued with terrible back pain, to discover that he had a staph infection in his back.  Mercifully, it has stayed out of his blood, but that also makes it harder to fight.  He's been hospitalized three times with vomiting so severe, he has become dehydrated. (We finally learned that this is his body reacting to the infection.) He spent three more days in the hospital after an open biopsy around T12.  He just finished his second six-weeks long course of IV antibiotics.  I've learned to start an IV drip bag and use a syringe to administer these drugs and help him get from place to place and help with his personal care.  Last week, we learned that the infection's abscess is still there, but hasn't grown.  We also learned that he has a compression fracture of the T12 vertebra. Now I strap him into a rigid, clamshell, body brace each morning. The doctor hopes that T11 and T12 will fuse on their own while he is in the brace for two or three months.  Pain remains an unwelcome guest in our house.  He has lost nearly 80 pounds during this time which is good for his heart and general health, but not an approved method of weight loss.

Our children, and I include our wonderful daughter in law,  have been great.  Anna has come and spent many weeks with us when Jim was recovering from an open biopsy surgery and at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Dan and Steph came in July and again at Christmas to provide love and support and lots of laughs. Our hearts overflow with love for these amazing young people who make up our family.

I've only been at school about four weeks during this school year.  Everyone at my school has also been incredibly supportive.  Jim's staff and faculty and students have also overwhelmed us with their care and concern and visits.  Over the summer, several of his staff and faculty moved his office to a building with a handicap ramp in the entrance.  And while I was able to help Jim start the school year and teach classes, he was not able to return after the last hospital stay.  This experience would be unbearable without all of them.

 During this time, I've come to appreciate even more the strength of character and compassion of my dad who has cared for my mother for the last three years.  When Jim went to the emergency room with the first case of mysterious vomiting, I was in Florida as my parents transitioned from their home to a retirement center.  While caregiving is tiring and stressful, it's also terrible to see someone you love in pain or distress and feel inadequate and helpless to make things better for them.

Please keep Jim in your prayers or practice.  We are ecumenical and appreciate all offerings. I am hopeful that this will pass away and he will regain his health and strength.  As with all trials, we will be closer and stronger because of it.

My heart is so full of you.