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July 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 30- Chris Ritchey

 

NO LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fifteen: April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Sixteen: May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Seventeen: June 3rd-No Limits-Chris Ritchey-Chapter 17 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eighteen: July 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapter 18-Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/january-3rd-no-limits-chapter-24-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty  Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/february-3rd-no-limits-chapter-25-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapter-26-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Seven https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapter-27-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/05/03/may-3rd-no-limits-chapter-28-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-29-chris-ritchey/

OMEGA

Any  words I  have left in me are inadequate to  describe the utter denial, disbelief , unreality  I felt on that last morning of December 3rd.  As I  walked out of the conference  room, the words from the “Doctor” stating we would have to  waIt until the paralyzing drugs wore off before they  could remove Chris from life support, seemed  hollow , without emotion and echoed in my  brain, I felt not a part of my  own body . I was  elsewhere wanting to  wake up to  a different reality  . This can’t be our reality!

I wanted to  run away  , leave this place of clinical formality, take my  son ,  I  saw the  relief on the faces of the Lombardi  Clan as I  agreed to  removing Chris from the machines. I agreed with  the impossible hope  that maybe , he would prove them wrong  but also  because my son had asked me ”

“Mum don’t ever let me end up  being pathetic” 

I never wanted to  look on the faces of Tim, Sue and Angela ever  again. In my  mind they  were no  longer part of our lives. Little did I  know they  weren’t done with  Chris and his family  yet, their controlling  behaviour would  reach  out even through  the death  of Chris , in order to  have their own way. 

We went into  Chris room, Nikki  was there in those damned pajamas , talking to  him.

“Chris you  came home to  see me anytime, I  love you……”

I wasn’t understanding did she not realize  he wouldn’t be ever coming home again? 

A nurse  ushered out of the room into  the room next door, where just a few hours before  the patient had caused all the alarm in the night  had apparently  died.   We were told to  wait  as we couldnt be in the room whilst they  “unhooked” Chris .

The room was bare, the bed and machines cleared away.  I was in there with  Sue Lombardi,  Angela and Tim.

I wondered where my  husband was , Nikki , Jim???Why  was I in that  horrible room with  these people. I  was about to  leave when the tellvision, fixed to  the wall came on  . I  don’t know the program but it was country  music ….. I couldn’t stand it , it was as if someone was playing some macabre joke.

I grabbed the channel  changer from the floor , but no  matter what I  did I  couldn’t get rid of it. Finally  Tim Lombardi left Sue’s  side , she was sitting on the floor  against the wall, but all he managed to  do  was get it flipping through  channels. It ended up  on a scene from . The joke being in the family  that I  was Marie Barone  and my  favourite was Chris, as hers was Raymond. It was the scene where they  were together on a cruise ship.

Angela took the channel changer from her father as Sue  said looking at the scene on the television

“OH it is Chris”

I looked at her and thought

stupid woman , why  doesn’t she just  shut up!!!!

It was then the nurse put her head through  the door and said they  were ready  for us.

Angela, her mother and father went to  the  right hand side of the bed where there weren’t any  machines, I  could only  squeeze into  the other side by  the wall and the now quiet ventilator.

I looked at my  sons face, wiped the  spittle from his mouth , the nurses has closed his eyes . I  rambled on, talking   to him about being proud of him , how hard he fought and that he should rest now. I  don’t know exactly  what I  was talking about  because all I  wanted to  do  was hold him and  scream

NO!!!!!!! Stop  this !!! This can’t happen 

Instead, I  watched the colour drain slowly  from his face , he had died earlier I  knew it…… there was no  gasping for breath or convulsion. I  looked up  into  Tim Lombardi’s face who  was nodding yes….. Sue left the room  Someone took me away  from the bedside , I  think  it was one of Chris’ nurses . There was a wheelchair waiting for me. I had absolutely  no  idea where I  was ,what was happening .

I was taken back  to  hotel room and we sat. Nobody  talked finally we started packing up  our belongings and left. Nikki  was on the phone  apparently to  Tim

”  arrangements for the funeral home had already  been made for the following morning at 10 a.m”

In my  maelstrom of thoughts I  didn’t understand why  Chris’ father hadn’t been there when his son died. I knew Nikki  couldn’t face it and was, I  thought, being taken care of by  Jim.

I  understood that  but I  didn’t understand why  I had to  look into  that weasle  little face of Tim Lombardi  as my  son gave up  his being.

It was many  weeks later I  found out when I  finally  asked my  husband

Where were you , why  weren’t YOU with  me and Chris?

And then it came to  light. He had made sure Nikki  was with  Jim and then followed us into  the room but Sue Lombardi  closed the door in his face and he didn’t know what to  do  , he didn’t want to  make a scene so  he stood outside the door and looked  through  the window as his son died.

artwork Chris Ritchey

I would like to  say  that that was the last cruel and thoughtless  act of the Lombardis but there was so  much  more to  come. However it was nearly  a year after Chris died that Nikki  finally  told me what had happened in that ICU room

DEC. 4th- How Cold is Cold -Lombardi?

I couldn’t think that my beautiful son was going to die- I truly still thought he will show them he will come out of this – I never gave up hope and none of us said to goodbye-

My husband when he was in a coma told us that he had heard every word that people spoke but he couldn’t let us know. So we all acted on the fact that Chris too, was aware and were so careful not to say or do anything that would distress him- trapped as he was…….

Fashionistas Sue Lombardi and Angela (Lombardi) ritchey( Now Murphy.

This apparently was not consideration given by the Lombardis as Sue Lombardi and Angela joined Nikki in the ICU room. Nikki was putting cool cloths on Chris’ brow , holding his hand and talking to him that everything was Ok and she wouldn’t leave him-

However that was not the reason apparently the Lombardi women were in the room, not for them comfort and saying farewell NO they had other reasons for seeing Chris

 they were choosing his “laying out clothes”

So before my son was dead, two minutes after Nikki had learned they were taking Chris off the vent – Angela Ritchey(Murphy) DO and Sue stood over my dying son having already decided without even the courtesy of discussing with Chris’ family the Gluvna Funeral Home would handle the arrangements-

Sue Lombardi

We will lay him out in his black pants, blue shirt and silver tie

Angela –

Yes, but no suit jacket Chris wouldn’t like that

 

Nikki couldn’t believe what she was hearing her brother lying there still breathing, still warm, his hand still in hers and they are discussing “funeral fashion!” 

Nikki told  me that day a year later  between her sobs –

Mum who are these people? how does a “bride” stand there as her husband is dying and calmly decide what fashion statement he will make in his casket- I was standing there trying to memorize every piece of his face, his hands everything about him knowing I would never see him again and they are discussing what to dress him in and he wasn’t even dead. I just cannot believe they were so cool and calm and cold when Angela said
“Yes but no jacket ” it was in the same tone as saying

I will have honey mustard sauce with the nuggets…….

 

Nikki turned to them and quietly said through her teeth so that Chris didn’t hear

NO! you are not laying my brother out, there will be no casket he is to be cremated, he isn’t to go to Gluvna but to Boyers – I will fight you on this – he is to go home

 

Sue Lombardi:

but this will be a huge funeral and what would we do about the parking….

I still find this scenario incredible What kind of people are more concerned in the “funeral fashion statement” of their son-in-law and new husband will wear and where Sue would have  people park as he is clinging to life.

Who calmly looks at their dying groom and is concerned about jacket or no jacket, what kind of people are these ?- How could you even discuss this as a sister holds her dying brothers hand and tries to give him comfort?

How could Angela even contemplate that next move? I just know that anyone who loved my son deeply would not be thinking of “dressing him in his coffin” in their last moments together !
I didn’t know any of this  at the time and it is probably  just as well because as traumatic as the next few days were they  would have been worse as my  anger would have risen to  a dreadful climax.

– I am even more filled with disgust that someone who was so full of life, love and caring has left this life and those that should have mourned his loss stood over him – as he lay dying deciding how to dress him in a casket to look good!

 

The disgust I felt at such pious hypocrites is indescribable – to think my son was subject to this in his last moments “what would he be wearing as they decorated him in the casket “ filled me with a gut filled sickness, it is beyond my comprehension as to what he did to deserve such coldness?

To  be continued ……..

 

July 3, 2022 at 1:51 pm 2 comments

April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey


untitled

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Houston: Days and Nights continued:

Being able to  sleep at night did not last long. Although,  I  was more relaxed because I  could try  and take care of Chris, see to  his needs, cook for him I spent my  days watching every  nuance of his being, and nights listening to  his cough  and worrying. 

After the first weekend we settled into  a routine of trips to  the hospital , taking the infusions and blood test. One of the protocols of the trial of SGN 35 involved writing down  and filling in a daily  chart as to  his  physical and mental responses each  day, reactions to  the medications etc.

A Pivotal Open-Label Trial of Brentuximab Vedotin for Hodgkin Lymphoma – Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov

Chris, understood,  along with  tests this questionnaire and his answers would be part of the decision making as to  whether he would be able to  continue with  the drug/infusion SGN 35. And that is a problem, when you are told you  last chance for a “cure” ( there is that word used by  Dr. Brad Pohlman a couple of weeks prior basically  giving Chris the death  sentence) you  will do  anything to  stay  on the trial. Chris would duly  fill out the questionnaire every  day  and turn it in on his appointment days. The problem is  I know his pain level was NOT a three, that he was not having any  significant side effects.

After the first week I went to  the evaluation with  Dr. Younes’ PA, she was extremely  nice  but was concerned as Chris had lost 4 lbs. since she had seen he and Angela that 1st week. I wanted to tell her that he probably  had had nothing to  eat but a plate of spaghetti for days but kept my  mouth  shut.  I assured her I  would be cooking his meals at least three times a day . When we met with  Doctor Younes Chris asked him  for a prescription for Oxycodone  for pain. I watched the Doctors face 

“You shouldn’t be feeling pain on that level, why are you  on Oxycodone it isn’t in your notes….”

I immediately  realized Chris had committed a grave sin in asking. I knew Angela had a prescription filled for him from the Clinic. I hurriedly  stated. 

Oh! he was given a few after the lumpectomy when they  did the biopsy on his neck  a few days ago  and he was in a lot of pain after that surgery  and  that is why as the prescription  was only  for a few of them. 

That seemed to  satisfy  the doctor. When Angela called that evening I  explained what happened and that the Dr. had prescribed Darvon . I  mentioned the Doctor was not happy  with  Chris being on the Oxycodone  . She just  giggled and said

don’t worry  I  will get Chris a prescription….. Darvon  is nothing more than Tylenol and does nothing” . 

Darvon

Well I wasn’t going to argue after all she was the 3rd year Resident. Apparently  by  this time Chris had developed a tolerance to  pain killers. He told Angela the Darvon wasn’t doing anything  and she said just double the dosage, until I  come down next week . Keeping my  mouth  shut was getting more and more difficult. 

Hurricane Ike had left its mark on many areas even a year later. We decided to take a drive to Galveston, I had been there with Nikki for dance competitions a few years previously and it was very interesting. Unfortunately, Ike had done a lot of damage and it was depressing . On the way Chris got a phone call from the Cleveland Clinic. The results of the compatibility test for his sister being a donor for the stem cell transplant were in. They asked if Nikki was his twin because the results were extremely good , very high and they usually don’t get those type of results except with identical twins

Breathing a sigh of relief as we now had another option in our arsenal we stopped for lunch. Our view of the sea front was dismal

.

The Flagship Hotel remains after Hurricane Ike destroyed most other businesses on the coastline in Galveston, Texas, Sept. 19, 2008. U.S. Sailors assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) are providing defense support to the city?s civil authorities. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Chris Hoffpauir/Released)

 

There was one seafood restaurant open and we sat in the balcony over looking what was once the USS Flagship Hotel.

I deserved and needed  a drink, something I don’t often do . The pier on which the Hotel was located obviously had been pretty hard hit . The waiter told us a lot of the business along the sea wall had not survived. Chris walked down along the beach and called Angela with the results from the Clinic and I sat on the bench and called Nikki. Once again HOPE!!!!!

To be continued

April 3, 2021 at 12:04 pm 1 comment

NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey

No Limits- The book

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

The Time Between and the 2nd Stem Cell Transplant- Chapter 10

After leaving the Cleveland Clinic on that 1st week of April , our hopes were high. Although  Chris looked dreadful the doctors were very  pleased with how he rebounded and his body  was recovering. The next stem cell transplant would take his level down ( chemically) even farther than the first one. They  hoped that this would eradicate any  of the cancer cells left in his blood.

The weeks of recovery were rough, he obviously  had very  little appetite . I would go to  his and Angela’s apartment every  morning  in Cleveland Heights  whilst she went to  work at South Pointe Hospital . I would stay  until she  would come home in the afternoon. The rest of my  family  were having to  fend for themselves, I  felt very  guilty  I  couldn’t help  my  daughter more with  her new baby. My  90  year old mother was  looking after my  husband and cooking for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would take Chris his food or cook for him during the day. I knew more about where things were in my  daughter- in- law’s kitchen than I  did in my  daughter’s.

 

 

 

 

I hated all the poisons that were supposedly  killing the cancer because I  knew they  also  killed  healthy  cells and I was scared of the damage that was being done. However, you  take the chance that being young your son can overcome  and heal. I had said to  :

 

Brad Pohlman, MD, is Vice Chair of Operations at Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute. DrPohlman is a member of the American Society of Hematology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.  when we had  met with  him about the double stem cell transplant”

“What are the side effects or dangers in this and would you  recommend this if Chris was your son?”

He smiled and said:

” Obviously  I  would recommend this procedure  and the main issues with  the stem cell transplants is that  it can cause problems in the lungs, but we can fix that with  steroids “

I thought at the time I hoped the risk was minimum  as he  didn’t seem concerned and we were ready  to  try anything to  get rid of this damned cancer. Still as he mentioned the lungs my  chest tightened and warning bells went off again in my  brain, but what was the alternative?

The days went into  weeks and Chris progressed really  well, he got the color back  in his face his eyes no  longer circled with  darkness, he was of course completely  bald .  He came to  Nikki’s one day had his black jacket turned backwards and declared as he came into  the room:

Uncle Festus has arrived!

 

 

 

 

He still had an irreverent sense of humour and could laugh  at himself  and a temper and that calmed me  because I  knew how he would fight. And so  the 2nd stem cell transplant began.

This time they  took his levels down to  almost zero , it was horrible. He never complained but the pain was excruciating, they  pumped him full of drugs and the creamed corn radiated cells, His vision was effected  and basically  his nails stopped growing for those two  days leaving a line where they  “died” and then were” resurrected”. His mouth  was full of ulcers  and his throat.  He could only manage water  and milk with  ice cubes. I  had my  mother make him his favorite orange whip, with  orange jello, double cream and mandarin oranges whipped together.

 

When he could manage whipped potatoes I  whipped them with  butter and an egg and cream.  Funnily  enough  he got a craving for Corn Dogs of all things , maybe it was the smell of the creamed corn but much  to  the annoyance of the “nutrition specialist” I would get him whatever he desired and so  corn dogs it was. Eventually  , having brought in an electric kettle  I  could make him tea, the cup  that cheers as my  mum always said and we would share a cup or two  in the afternoon with  a few of his favourite English  biscuits (  cookies) I am not sure what the staff thought of me but I  didn’t care, I  knew what he liked and how to  make my  son comfortable .

I would once again, change the bed, read whilst he slept. and leave about 5 . I  rarely  bumped into  Angela I  thought she was working. Apparently, I  learned later,   she was not   most of that time. Yet my  son thought she was and felt badly  she  was working all day  and having to  come and visit him at night. I am grateful he didn’t know what we now know. Came the day  he was released once again !

He had decided after weeks of being in isolation he wanted nothing more than the get out into  the outside and breathe the air.  He bought a 4 wheeler which  he kept at his sister’s , Nikki. They  have woods behind their house  and every  moment he could he would be  riding the four wheeler for hours . He loved it and being alone in those woods, free…… !

I  had also  given Chris  my  Pontiac Trans Am and he was able to  use it as a down payment on a Ford F150 black truck, his father and I  made the payments  . Chris   he was still getting pay from his job and Angela was working but I felt the young couple had enough  on their plate so  we paid the truck payments and insurance. Fortunately  ALL the medical costs were covered under Angela’s Cleveland Clinic Insurance ( all but the parking fees) 100%of all medical costs were covered. The Clinic has some great perks!

Sue Lombardi  made a great deal of fuss to   people of my  acquaintance saying how much  everything was costing. One of my  friends  asked , after having a discussion with  Sue, if they  could help  in anyway with  the medical bills. I said what bill? Chris is covered under the Cleveland Clinic  they  are paying for everything under their insurance. The answer came

” Sue, led me to  believe the cough  medicine alone  was $350.00 you  mean they  aren’t paying that, why  would she lead me to  believe they  were going in debt” 

I said

” Well  she is right the cough  medicine is $350.00 a bottle but she and her family  aren’t suffering any  out of pocket expenses for Chris’ treatment, I  don’t know why  she is telling people that”

 

 

A year after his first diagnosis of the Refractory  Hodgkin’s  – June 2009 – finishing up the tandem stem cell transplants – found Chris given the all clear once again. We celebrated with steaks and good wishes, Chris hosting the barbeque at Nikki’s house inviting the “Lombardi in- laws”.

Luckily  for me , my  new little grandson   Gavin, was fussy  so  I  was able to  excuse myself with  the baby and spent a great deal of the time trying to  get him off to  sleep.

You  see, I  did not have the strength  to  maintain a façade, I  could not look at the Lombardi  family  without the picture of them in my  dream  standing  around my  son’s casket , warning bells  kept going off in my  brain. Illogical though it was, I could not get over looking at them and seeing the death of my son.

My body  and soul were torn between hope, happiness and dread………

 

To  be continued………..

 

 

November 3, 2020 at 1:43 pm 2 comments

August 3rd- No Limits- Chapter7- Chris Ritchey

 

No Limits- The book

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

 

After the Wedding:

I got through the wedding with a pretense of happiness, and the chemo and radiation treatments continued. We actually  didn’t see Angela for weeks , she and Chris would  come back  to  Lorain from Cleveland on weekends, Angela would stay  with  her parents but Chris  would spend the weekend at his sisters, where I  would see him. It was a bit strange but since I  got to  see him I  wasn’t bothered.

Before Chris’s diagnosis his father and I, my  mum and Nikki booked a trip  to  Europe. Mainly  to  attend a family  event in September and for Nikki  and her dad to  go  to  Scotland and Germany, a cruise up  the Rhine. It was supposed to  be celebration of retirement  and a break for us.

Unfortunately , it turned out to  be the trip  from hell. Apart from the fact none of us , after Chris diagnosis wanted to  go   and surprise, surprise   Nikki  found out she was 8 weeks pregnant, Nana was going to  be a great grandmother  at least this news was wonderful!

 

 

We still  dithered about going   but Chris insisted he was on his last treatment and only  had some radiation to  get through  and we should go  an enjoy.  Enjoy  was not the word we would ever use with  that trip.

There were some good times whilst in England and Chris was only  a phone call away  from his worrying family . We checked on him daily, he probably  got  fed up  but was patient with  us.

It was when we left England the trouble started, we were the last train out of the Euro Tunnel to  France when  the tunnel caught fire  caught fire. We weren’t aware of that until we reached Strasbourg and our hotel. We had only  planned to  stay  in Strasbourg the one night  Sept 11th  . We had  called home to  tell them we would be out of phone contact  for a week on the boat up  the Rhine,  only  to  be greeted with  the news that the rail crossing  and tunnel would be closed  due to  the fire and no-one was sure when it would open.

The boat on the Rhine was not good, Nikki  was feeling queasy , no  one spoke English   and my  French was poor , although  I  managed, we still  couldn’t get any  news and I  hated every  minute.  Even the weather matched my  mood

After 4 days I  could stand it no  longer  and we left the boat early  and  travelled back to  Strasbourg  to  the little hotel by  the cathedral. Nikki  put in a call to  England whilst her dad  and I  went to  look for food. Upon our return to  the room we were greeted with  the news Angela’s  young cousin  had been riding his bike home when a storm  hit  and he was killed by  a falling tree limb.

Nikki was sitting cross legged on the bed  the open Pizza box in front of her  and no -one ate. The time difference meant we had to  wait to  try  and get hold of Chris and Angela, and we had no  idea what to  do or say.

There is nothing worse than being away from your loved ones when something like this happens, you feel totally inadequate and helpless. The next morning , although I am not a Catholic, I walked across the square to Strasbourg Cathedral to light a candle of remembrance for this child who  was of that faith.

 

My mind was not on the beautiful windows, architecture, statues and carvings

 

I watched the tourists as they quietly took in all the beauty that surrounded them, the sound of the Cathedral’s bells reverberating through the stillness.

My heart heavy, I leaned against a pillar whilst my husband took photos and noticed the stone pillar was scarred and what looked ( to me) like bullet holes, it hadn’t been fixed. Had there been a battle of some sort that had scarred the stone? Then I noticed

 

Life has a way of making you realize what is truly important “life itself”, I lit a candle for a little boy  lost in Lorain, another for those  brave men, boys really, whose mothers also wept whose young lives  were lost all the time wondering what the future would bring , would prayers be answered…. and fighting down the tears  I hoped I would not have to  shed for my  own son.

I knew Angela and her aunts were religious and fervent Catholics, but not sharing those same beliefs I wasn’t sure what we could do  to  ease or give comfort. Nikki  and I  purchased  two  rosaries from the Cathedral and had them blessed by  the priest, one for Angela and one for her aunt whose sorrow I know was crippling.

Nikki flew back earlier and my  husband and I  stayed,  he came down with  some sort of horrible flu and by  the time we traveled back  10  days later , we all had it, my mum, me and him.  Mum ended up  in hospital and I  was out for the count for 11 days. It meant that I didn’t get to  see Chris, none of us did  because we daren’t with  his compromised immune system . I didn’t get to  see him until a month  later.  He had changed in the months I  hadn’t seen him, his blonde hair had come back in dark, he had a goatee sort of beard that was tinged with red, he looked older in fact his nose had changed , I  am  not sure if the Chemo did something to  the cartilage   but  his nose was thinner, a bit more beaky . I stared at him quietly  seeing the changes in the lines of his face , his eyes , his smile was still the same though. Chris didn’t often smile  but when he did he could light up  a room  and when I saw that smile as we walked into  Nikki’s great room  he lit up  my  heart once more and I  remembered the years of smiles and love he had given to  us  always…….

To  be Continued >>>

 

 

August 3, 2020 at 9:20 pm 2 comments

Morning Journal- The Punishing Press- Part 3

Part One : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/13/morning-journal-lorain-the-punishing-press/

Part Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/14/morning-journal-lorain-the-punishing-press-part-two/

 

ED NOTE As I  revisit the situations in the early  part of this century  I  am amazed at the amount of time, energy  and money  wasted. The 2004- through  2007  wheeling and dealing. Most of it centered around this old neighborhood, which  of course is why  I  became involved and why  I  came up  against the press and politics. Naïve is the word I would describe myself.  Reading the harsh  words today  as I  went through  articles  and posts  of an Editor and a Mayor of that time.

I couldn’t help  but think  today

  “ I  was not a politician, I  did not hold a job of work with  the city  or county  or with  anyone else.”

 

I  suppose I  was visible in the public eye due to  all the volunteer situations and events from producing Lorain Community  Music Theatre productions of Brigadoon and King and I , saving the Palace – Palace Players, one of the founders of Charleston Village Society  and a great many  other hats all of which  did not bring me in a penny and cost me personally. Looking back  and with  hindsight I  should have walked away  years ago.

However, I  was pilloried in the press and  by local government administration  as a “VOLUNTEER”- if this can happen to  me it can happen and probably  did  to others.  This is the reason I believe  this  regurgitating of “old news” is warranted.

Winston Churchill said,

“The further back you can look, the farther forward you can see…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apart from selling us ( Lorain’s oldest neighborhood) down the river – or on it  by  Foltin , Cole and the Shawnee , the gathering storm  of the Foltin Follies hit  Lorain Portside  with   not one but two  blight studies and to  hell with  this old neighborhood and its people .

( Planned Blight ) was also  on the agenda for the dismantling of the oldest greenspace in the county – now known as Veterans Park. Once again Cole , Foltin and Prudoff gathered together in the tower of power to  make this happen for the developer Jon Veard.  The paper calling that little slice of Lorain’s tangible history  a “piss park”

 

Unfortunately  I  cannot link directly  to  those editorials they  have disappeared , as has most of the Wom Blog articles at the time . I did however, manage to  save  some although  the links embedded originally are “broken” through  accident or design. A lot of revisionist history  happens in Lorain.

Let us start with Blight. As a founding member and co  chair of Charleston Village Society  ( 1986 to  present and a 501C3. )

http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/feature.shtml?f=375llage

I received phone calls from the neighbors over on the Portside section of our neighborhood

A Mr. Gould would be coming into  their homes to  start a blight study.”

This was also  around  the time Eminent Domain for  private  development was  being used  see Kelo case https://ij.org/issues/private-property/eminent-domain/

We (CVSI)  did some research  and informed the neighbors NOT to  let Mr. Gould onto  or into  their property  and homes.  We fought with  what little resources we had and travelled to  Washington D.C to  meet with  the Institute of Justice , became  “friends of court for the Norwood Case” .

The Norwood, Ohio Eminent Domain Trial

 

With  the help of the Institute of Justice  – Gould and Associates could not meet the required percentage  to  “blight the neighborhood”- the first step  in eminent domain .

On April 10th 2006 I  testified before the State Task Force on Eminent Domain ( Ex  Lorain Mayor Joseph Kozuira was a member of that Task Force.  part of the testimony was as follows:

We believe the citizens and taxpayers are the last to know. In the Portside case it is the taxpayer that is paying the $125,000 for the study- $50,000 from our Utilities Dept -$25,000 from the Lorain Port Authority and $50,000 from the city- ALL dependent upon the tax payer and yet we were not informed of the ordinance or the fact that our money would be used. Every time a toilet is flushed in Portside they are paying for their homes to be under the tool of eminent domain. This evening (April 10th) they are asking the City to remove them from the study.

The designation of Blight in Lorain gives the following options to the city: the tool of Eminent Domain, TIF funding, and zoning changes and readies the area “in case a casino” or another concept comes across the board. Blight designation HAS worked well in Lorain with Harbor Walk but that development was different in the fact that the city and the developer (who owned the property) took a disused shipyard and turned it into housing and a marina. It is a wonderful asset. The difference being that there was financing in place, architectural drawings and “real plan” not concepts or visions. The community was aware of the project, it was no secret.

The city of Lorain has contributed to the housing infrastructure problems; the city of Lorain has NOT enforced building codes,

brokehomes

therefore contributing to the deterioration of our homes and infrastructure and NOW say-“oh the area should blighted!!”

ED NOTE:You  can access the whole testimony  here Eminent Lorain V

Are you  adding up  these costs to  the taxpayer for the Shawnee, the Blight ? can you  see why  I  was an irritant in the underwear of Foltin and Cole.  Who  the hell was I  to  point out the “waste” and meddle in their plans?

And then came the Park TAKE OVER-  Lorain’s Oldest continuing green space from which  the City  of Lorain was platted and born :

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/the-history-park-1812-201-hundred-years-a-recorded-city-park-veterans-park-lorain-ohio/

“In the closing months of 2005 the Foltin Administration along with Community Development Director Sandy Prudoff, Jon Veard and Morning Journal editor – John Cole, in their infinite wisdom, decided the historic park should be condos. Foltin and Co started the wheels in motion to make this little park unworthy of its heritage .
Mayor Foltin quietly stopped work and maintenance on the park so that after a period of months the park and its infrastructure started to rapidly deteriorate. The fountain no longer was turned on, said to have major problems ( which turned out later to be a false statement)- graffiti wasn’t removed – only the grass was cut – the vagrants were allowed to use it as John Cole’s editorial stated as a “piss park”. In truth Craig Miller the Safety Service Director told me the park would be “blighted”. Events happened when Jon Veard let the plans out of the bag prematurely and I, along with others, started fighting to stop this fiasco of finance.

And John Cole really  had a field day  with  me and his editorials :  However, I  do  have to  thank  him because it was “HE”  who  gave me the moniker “that woman” hence the name of this blog ….. Of course I  was also  named a crank, blowhard and history bonehead…..Nice

To  be continued………

 

 

April 15, 2020 at 12:18 pm 1 comment

Morning Journal Lorain- the Punishing Press?

ED NOTE: it takes a great deal nowadays to  get my  fingers flying over this keyboard. I have pretty  much  given up getting involved in all things Lorain. I am too old to   worry  about the future as it pertains to  me and this neighborhood. Tired of swimming upstream. However, there are times that cause me to  jump  back  in. This is one of them!

The Morning Journal vs City  Council Woman at Large  Mary  Springowski 

https://www.cityoflorain.org/305/Mary-Springowski

Mary Springowski . Council At-Large. Phone: 440-258-4302. Email Mary Springowski. Mary Springowski began serving as the Council at-Large representative on January 1, 2016 where she was gratified to receive the top votes in both the Democratic Primary …

 

 

Since the retaliation to  various citizens ( usually me 😉 has been an ongoing  behavior  this post will be in a series  one part every  day! Time for  a history  lesson  because history  once again is repeating itself – in my  humble opinion……( for the lawyers 😉

WoM Logo by Scott Baklar

Long time readers of this  blog and the old WoM Blog will remember my  penchant for holding the local press , especially  the Morning Journal , Lorain to  account. Unfortunately, that has put me time and time again on the list for punishment for my  stance.

I had, with   regard to  publicity  for the various theatre productions etc. and non profit , volunteer news , a very  good relationship  with  the Plain Dealer, the Elyria Chronicle and  yes! the Morning Journal. I  would, when sending out press releases make sure the paper I  was sending to  had  a local hook that differed with  all three, meaning the press releases were geared to  each  paper so  they  weren’t rehashing the same article. This worked very  well and over the years I like to  think  I  built up  a good rapport with  the various newsrooms .

Unfortunately,  this came to crashing halt in 2002  with  the Publisher of the Morning Journal, Kevin Haezebroeck Publisher- The Morning Journal
Nov 2001 – Aug 2004 -2 years 10 months.

At the time I was on the board of what was MainstreetLorain a 501C3 . We were promoting  one of our events in downtown Lorain. Our Director , at the time  also  promoted the event in  the Cleveland Plain Dealer. This sent the  hierarchy of the Morning Journal , Haezebroeck , John Cole ( deceased)  and Bill Cyran (deceased) into  a frenzy of frustration.  I received a call from the Entertainment Editor ( since I  was doing the publicty) he had been told to  pull the article he was writing and the cover of the entertainment magazine. I  called Bill Cyran  and was told unless we got rid of our Director  the Morning Journal  would never give us any  publicity  again, I was informed  we could only  deal with  the Morning Journal. I  was shocked especially  since Mr. Haezebroek was a sitting member of our Board of Directors. As the situation went from bad to  worse,  and  as the majority  BOD did not support our Director, due to  not wanting to  fall foul  of the Morning Journal, our Director   then resigned .

I  was furious, not only  at the majority  of the BOD. and their, in my  opinion ,cowardice at not standing united, I  know  they  were probably   scared of retaliation with  their businesses  but that a “free press” – the 4th  estate,  would stoop to  such  behavior. I had at that time a couple of columns for  various publications ( freelance) and never had I  come across  such  punishing behavior.  I wrote in one of my  columns in 2002 :

 

“Locally, this writer has had cause for concern with her “morning news publication” It seems that community coverage has become tied to the amount of advertising dollars spent, dictates by the publisher and editor as to with whom a non profit is allowed to do business. Retaliatory punishment of an organization because of a personal dislike of an individual who had the audacity to support advertising outside the dictates of the local “fair and balanced” periodical.

There were threats of non-coverage of community events whilst certain individuals remained in their position. In fact the threats became reality. How? You ask can a publication get away with that behavior. Can it be that the publication involved has become so used to dealing with situations they dislike by throwing their weight around, without answering to anyone for their actions? Have they become immune to the seriousness of their behavior? Have bullying and “mercenary” attitudes become so commonplace that they have forgotten their first obligation to John Q. Public? Can they no longer see their editorial opinions chastising others for suspect behaviors could well be directed inwards?

Who? I ask, stands up to the publications and say “NO! We will not be bullied”. Members of John Q. Public who quiver with fear at the thought of their company, political ambitions or organization being on the receiving end of a “nasty editorial”. Yes, it seems our local media has us by the throat, they will be fair and balanced when it suits them, they will as a recent quote in an editorial stated, “we will be watching”. The question begs to be asked, “Who then watches the watchers?”

Who is Watching the Watcher

Unfortunately,  for the MJ and Haezerbroeck I became the “volunteer”  Director of the MainstreetLorain 501C3 until we could bet another Director. Poor Kevin he found me difficult to  work with …. probably  because I  didn’t cave in to  his threat ( stated at a restaurant   downtown when he was not in a good mood… I know he thought I  was just a little overweight housewife on 4th  street…. as he stated that day ”

” “never argue with someone who buys his ink by the barrel full …threat” as a matter of interest I  had more monthly  readers in one dance magazine than the MJ had in 10 🙂

However Mr. Haezerbroeck remembers it differently  and came onto this  blog  a few years ago  to  correct me .. What I would have said was it was not smart to fight with people who “buy paper by the ton and ink by the barrel”.

( still a threat ???)

Next up  2004 Please note some of the links in some of the post are no longer linkable due to  publications pulling them – but I  usually  kept the articles on file 😉

 

 

April 13, 2020 at 5:41 pm 5 comments

March 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapt 2 – Chris Ritchey

  NO LIMITS-The Book

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

I find this rehashing of “life” and the connection with the Lombardi  family  and my  son’s choice of a life partner very  difficult to bring back to  light in my  life  and write. I wish I could file all those memories and people away  in some dark corner  never to  be thought of again. However, in order for those that read this “book” as it will be ( after it has been serialized here) to fully  understand the emotions, the relationships, the thought processes  and the connection to what happened and happens after my  son passed , the  connections  and especially those of Christopher have to  be explored. In some cases , with  hindsight and indeed some premonition I felt I should have seen a lot of the pain coming. 

THE ENGAGEMENT- CHAPTER 2

Although  I  must admit to  some “mother’s reservations” as to  the engagement of my son and Angela Lombardi , his sister and I wanted to  make this day  special.

Chris had said one evening , after he and Nikki  had gone to  a jeweler friend of Nikki’s husband to  design  “the ring” – which  cost him all of his savings $6,000.00 –

“Mum you  helped Jim (  Nikki’s husband) find a special place for him to  ask Nikki to  marry  him, you  have to  help  me  too”

Nikki  and I set about searching the internet, making suggestions, all of which  were not what Chris felt were right. Finally  I  said ….

“How about the top  of the Lorain Lighthouse”? I  am  not sure if I  can arrange that , but I  can try to  contact some of the people at the Lighthouse Foundation”

At that time the Lorain Lighthouse was still undergoing repairs and the top  of the Lighthouse was not open to  the public. But a few years earlier Chris had been asked to  paint the Lighthouse on a shed to  be put at the Marina to  be used to  hand out literature about Lorain. I thought that possibly  they  might be open to  the fact he would like some help  in what was supposed to  be a happy  occasion.

I duly  did the contacts and offered to  pay  for a day’s insurance policy  to  cover the the event of just the two  of them. After a lot of negotiating  and Ok’s by  the people involved it was a go. The date was set for July  12th. at 2:00 pm.  Lighthouse volunteers entered into  the excitement. It was arranged, I  would meet the little boat earlier in the morning, with  the champagne , a table, two  wine goblets, checkered red and white  table cloth  and roses and they  would be put at the top  of the Lighthouse.

My conspirators cunningly hid them on the far side so Angela wouldn’t see them as she ascended the lighthouse platform. Angela had wanted to go to the zoo that day and was a little annoyed ( I was told later) -my son had an errand to do for me first  or so she thought. Chris explained to her that first he had to take some photos for one of my “projects” he told her:

“You know how she is always roping me to do artwork and stuff for her projects- it won’t take long – mum needs some photos of the harbor for the Lorain Bicentennial she is planning next month”

I told Chris  that  we would meet him and Angela afterwards to  celebrate.

Naively  I  thought to  include the Lombardi  clan…. my  first interaction with  these people. I  had met them rarely  in the past  not more than a half dozen time , really  never having an in-depth  conversation with  them.  Since  we ( “Chris’s family”) had planned to  go  to  the Jacalope – a restaurant that over looks the Marina and the Lighthouse to celebrate after the event for some drinks and food, I thought it might be nice to  include the “family  of Angela”

I told Chris that we would be at the Jacalope and would watch with the binoculars for the wave of all was well and to have the boat drop them off there afterwards and we would celebrate.

 

I called the “in laws to be” on the Friday afternoon when it was all the arrangement were set – hoping that weather wouldn’t dampen the day- no it was Sue Lombardi that actually put a damper on the day

Photo Sue Lombardi .

 

I  must admit to  be more than a little taken aback when the “Mother of the Bride to  be” stated:

“Oh! we are building a new house and we are scheduled to have the electric done and some painting tomorrow – CAN”T Chris DO  THIS ANOTHER TIME!!!”

I thought to myself silly cow- doesn’t she realize this is her daughter’s engagement and getting this arranged has taken days and no little expense” ;

I said
Well surely you could take an hour off- maybe for lunch – we are meeting at the Jacalope to celebrate-
A big sigh from Sue  came down the phone :

Oh! this isn’t very convenient…… I will see what we can do

Well said I:

It is up to you but we will be there on the patio…..

and made a note to self – I would not get involved in “the brides mother’s wedding” plans – I could see that we are as different as chalk and cheese . I could tell from that very short conversation things had to be her way and her idea –
Oh Chris! you are in for a time I thought- little did I know it would be me bearing the brunt of the “Control Diva”.

The weather was indeed perfect, arrangements went like clockwork and even the in-laws and some of the family  of Angela duly  arrived on the patio. The happy  couple eventually  arrived  by  boat and Angela was flushed with  excitement. One of the aunts expressed a desire to  see the ring, and oohs and ahs duly  followed however from Sue Lombardi came the  concern

“Won’t that get caught up  and rip your  surgical gloves (  Angela  was going to  be a doctor)

As the afternoon progressed, I found out that I shouldn’t have relaxed  about it being a long engagement  they  were getting married  the next summer in June.  Oh dear I thought , must lose weight, how are they  going to  afford to  live Chris hadn’t been offered a position  with Wyse advertising , he was still a paid intern but my  thoughts soon were sent in another direction.

My  daughter, Nikki, who  actually  had never met Sue Lombardi  was cornered in another part of the restaurant by  Sue. I  should explain Nikki  and her husband had just been transferred back  to  Lorain from Toledo  and had just purchased a house. Nikki  had taken a break from employment to  get things together. Apparently  knowing this ( Angela, had lived with  my  daughter for over a month  in Toledo  so  she could do   one of her “rotations”) Sue requested  firmly  that Nikki  would to  go  with  Angela and drive to  Philidelphia , stay  overnight  so  Angela could take some  medical requirement. It was in a bad part of town apparently  and they  didn’t want her to  go  alone.

Nikki was upset, she didn’t want to  say  no  and upset Chris, but neither was she comfortable driving to  Philadelphia a distance of 451 miles, ,after talking to her husband , he definitely  wasn’t in favor either.

Why  doesn’t her mother or father take the day  off, they  have a large family  Why  you  Nikki? Two  women going to  a bad part of Philadelphia????

I waited until the Sunday  evening to  talk to  Chris , he didn’t want Angela to  driver alone  and no-one in her  family  were  prepared to  take her, so  he had to  take two  days off of work ( not only  unpaid but also he was still on probation at work , so  that didn’t bode well) .

( note  similar ring in design)

In the meantime on the Monday  Nikki  called me  she was in the middle of tiling a back splash in her new kitchen:

“Angela has called and is angry  and upset, apparently  one or two  of the aunts had  gone with  Angela to  local jewelers  to  get the  engagement ring appraised  and the one who  did give them an off the cuff appraisal  came in at $3,000.00 half of what it was supposed to  be worth. They  blamed Jim’s friend, Jim    and poor Chris had been cheated”

Nikki  was beside herself and dropped what she was doing and met Angela at another jewelers but they  would not do  an appraisal. Chris was furious  as Angela had been on the phone crying to  him at work.

I, for one, could not believe the crassness of this family  and  two days later were valuing the ring she had just received. I  thought of my own poor little speck of a diamond engagement ring , I didn’t care how much  it cost I  was so  happy.

To  solve the situation I  asked Chris to  bring me the ring . I  paid  $150.00 dollars for a proper evaluation  of the stone and setting . The paperwork came back a week later

Stone..its clarity  size etc. was valued at $8,000.00 and the setting designed by  Chris in white gold was  another $1,800.00 and was deemed to  be on the conservative side. 

I immediately  called Chris , but he still was in a mood , which  got darker by  the time he came home. He and I  had words, the ones you  shout. I criticized  how this whole situation had come about.  He then informed both his sister and I  that Nikki  had lied, Angela did not call her upset and blaming  anyone.   This was the first time that Angela tried to  come between  Chris and his family, in this case Nikki. Nikki said

are you calling me a liar?  Why  would I  lie about something like that….?

Nikki  left the house, and she and Chris did not speak for days . Finally,  I  had enough  and another dressing down to  my  son…..  who  had by  now  cooled down- thought about the situation  and went to  apologize to his sister…

 

So much  for love and happiness.

NOTE: All events and conversations were witnessed  and  although  these events etc are from my  perspective and opinions however  they  are the truth. Loraine Ritchey

 

 

March 3, 2020 at 1:11 pm 2 comments

Dec 3rd – TIME of our Life- Chris Ritchey

Artwork Chris Ritchey

Every  3rd of the month I write a tribute to you   my  son , I  have  written , apart from the other memories of your passing  over 120 posts. I write to  release the pain that builds, to  take the thoughts out of my  mind and put them on paper, or in this case on this blog. If I didn’t they  would consume me more than they  do  and I  would not get any  relief. The tears I  shed as I  write drop  onto the desk  and over these many  months the varnish  has all but gone  – a surface worn away  by  my  tears.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/category/chris-ritchey/

Other self by Chris Ritchey

How can that be possible? How have 10  years passed? How can that be?  You  see for most of my  nights and days I am back in time , to  a time where life and death  and selfishness have trapped me, and not only  me  your father is on this same journey. I dream of you  but you  always have cancer and I  am always searching for a cure or help, then I  wake  there is a moment of relief that it was just a dream and then I  realize  I  have woken to  my  nightmare, there was no  cure no  help… I  am in reality……………..

The diagnostic box- self- portrait Chris Ritchey

I am reminded of H.G. Wells and The Time Machine , I feel like the lead character sitting in that machine , only the lever is not controlled by  me but by  a profound grief, that is stronger than any  will of mine.   I  sit in place in my  own device  as I  watch the world around me go from the future to  the present.

photo -self -Chris Ritchey

Every now and then I leave the machine of grief and experience the world of the present, happiness comes , anger comes, passion – very  rarely, duty to  others is limited and they  are the ones I  hold most dear. That is why  although  it is now 10 years this December 3rd. since I last saw  your face, kissed your cheek,  held your hand and lost ME. No  longer Loraine, but a facsimile   who left this place when you  did . The unbearable is borne  tempered by  love of your family , sisters, nephews  brother in law and father. Deep breaths  and the conscious and sub-conscience  effort by  the brain to  hold back the excruciating  emotions that wrack the physical body.

Anger at those that through  hypocrisy  and selfishness ( Tim Sue Lombardi, Angela (Lombardi – Ritchey) and now Murphy – and their family  and church ( Father Daniel  Divas  whose wickedness ( in my  opinion)  perpetuated  and took whatever compassion with  them in their  act of callousness. not to  be forgiven- then or now  

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/14/something-wicked-our-way-came/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/december-11th-the-beginning-of-the-beginning/

 

 

but that same anger also  has kept me upright.

 

The 10th  anniversary marked by   the yearly  posts of December 3rd  and as the new year dawns once again to  finally  finish  the book- NO LIMITS.

Starting a new chapter both  literally  and figuratively  -not the regurgitating of posts- but of your life and presence in the present………..

The Touch- Chris Ritchey

Your words ring through  my  mind  and indeed is part of the forward in the book

“Nothing should be hidden or untouchable, if it is your truth and you stand behind it – no one should be able to silence you “

freedom of speech by Chris Ritchey

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/dec-4th-how-cold-is-cold-lombardi/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/december-3rd-chris-ritchey-yesterday/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/december-3rd-the-trilogy-of-tears-christopher-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/december-3rd-memorial-chris-ritchey/

 

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/december-3rd-there-is-no-peace-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/december-3rd-end-of-days-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/dec-3rd-the-loop-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/dec-3rd-the-waiting-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2018/12/03/dec-3rd-crumbling-walls-chris-ritchey/

My  time here in this world  grows shorter as the days continue – I have to  finish this book and publish – as “truth  is definitely  the daughter of time” and time is running out…… I  love you  and miss you  every  moment of these days  and oh so long nights  no matter the  year I find myself existing……

 

December 2, 2019 at 11:01 pm Leave a comment

Sept 11th – REMEMBERING THOSE SOULS

by Chris Ritchey

September 10, 2019 at 12:43 pm Leave a comment

Medical Care- A Consumer’s perspective- Brookdale Pt 2

Part Onehttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/03/22/the-ratings-of-medical-facilities-series-it-begins/

Part Two- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/09/medical-care-from-a-consumers-perspective-ohio/

Part Three- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/22/medical-care-a-consumers-prospective-mercy-health-lorain/

Part Fourhttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/29/medical-care-a-consumers-perspective-mercy-health-lorain-2/

Part Five – https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/05/27/medical-care-a-consumers-perspective-cleveland-clinic-rehab-hospital/

Part Sixhttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/06/15/medical-care-a-consumers-perspective-brookdale-skilled-nursing/

This will, hopefully,  be the last in the series of medical care received in various  medical facilities , three different types of medical care, and three different providers. Ideally  this post should be in two  parts but I want to  leave Brookdale behind  so  it will be lengthy.

The common denominator was the insurance coverage Medicare and Medical Mutual. Although  I  am fighting one bill ( will be explored in this post)   and the Medicare evaluation of Brookdale as mentioned in Part SIX is an issue for us, on the whole Medicare and Medical Mutual – so far – has been less than the nightmare I  thought it would be.

I believed we were spoiled by  the nursing staff/ aides and housekeeping staff  at Mercy  Health  Lorain, upon reflection they  set the bar very  high– a  few of their  physicians I  found decidedly  lacking ( see Part One).

 

Also , the Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation was beautifully  clean and the food was very  good , rehab staff were excellent, you  knew what time  therapy  was every  day and who what and where so  families could adjust schedules to  participate with  the patient. You  knew who  the nurses were that day  and your aides. Unfortunately,  it was down to  a small percentage of aides  that spoiled the experience and also  caused a health issue ( in my  opinion) by  spreading C’Diff from one room to  another and then sending  contaminated material with  the patient to another facility. Brookdale

 

Ah! Brookdale, Westlake Ohio…..the 5 star Skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility  which is in the middle of a very  large Assisted Living and Senior Living

Brookdale Senior Living owns and operates over 1,000 senior living communities and retirement communities in the United States. Brookdale was established in 1978 and is based out of Brentwood, Tennessee. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brookdale_Senior_Living

The typical Brookdale Senior Living CNA salary is $12. CNA salaries at Brookdale Senior Living can range from $10 – $15. This estimate is based upon 66 Brookdale Senior Living CNA salary report(s) provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methodshttps://www.glassdoor.com/Hourly-Pay/Brookdale-Senior-Living-CNA-Hourly-Pay-E6433_D_KO24,27.htm

Independent living prices average $2,900 monthly. The majority of locations will cost between $2,300 and $3,500. Skilled nursing communities are available as a Basic Monthly Service Rate of between $6,000 and $8,500.

I have not received the cost of our one  month stay at Brookdale Westlake “skilled nursing and rehab ” in Westlake as of today’s date but I do  know one charge was $400 per day.

After the poor experience of “transfer” from Cleveland Clinic Rehab Hosp. Avon  (which was paid for by  self -pay) I wasn’t in the best of moods . I understood from literature that I  had read  this was a “newer facilty”. I understood it to be around 10  years old. In my  opinion it was becoming a little “shabby” without the chic.

 

 

I should point out this is a very  large complex and the “skilled nursing” ( bit of an oxymoron in my  opinion) section had quite a large turnover of people coming in and out of rehab. However, my  first impression after leaving the gleaming white , bright Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation Hospital(CCRH) was one of “OH!” and not in   a pleasant way.  The parking for the visitors for the skilled nursing/ rehab   section was awful, you  had to  hope the parking gods were on your side as you  drove round and round hoping for someone to  leave.

Please note this a critique of the Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Section of the complex, I  have no  thoughts or opinions as to  the rest of their complex and assisted living sections.

 

The facility  allows pet visits to  the patients rooms, all well and good but unlike The CCRH where there was a designated area  tile floor) for those  pet visits,   animals in all shapes and sizes routinely  walked the “carpeted corridors” , one little fella dragged his bottom along the carpet which  made me go  eeeewwwwwww. Had they  been bathed, de-fleaed , some looked as if they   weren’t exactly a pampered pet? I did take my  dog to  see her master at the CCRH after going through the paperwork and a shampoo. I  did not bring her to  Brookdale!

 

The room was  supposed to  be “homey” and an effort was made in the design and décor.  However too many  bumps and bruises on the paintwork, furniture  left an impression of needing a redecorating. The “homey”  bedspread  with  its little bag of goodies, had decidedly  seen better days , faded (hopefully)  through a lot of washing?  Again, being spoiled by  the open airiness of the CCRH with  large windows this was a bit of a disappointment , his room was dark and yes in my  opinion a bit dingy. The photo  from their website  is really not a great representation as to the “light” in  the room  we had.   After the pristine cleanliness of CCRH it was a bit of a disappointment Oh well thought I different facility  not a hospital .

 

The bed was actually  quite small, and no  sides. Apparently  “nursing homes” cannot restrict the occupants ( such  as  the side up  in a hospital)  neither can they  belt you  in  a wheel chair. This  was  all well and good but for a patient that has very  little trunk strength and one who  was a fall risk  this was not ideal. I  was told we could request the sides if we went through the paperwork and the Dr. must write out a prescription  to  have the sides installed. I said this is what I  wanted done. That was the last I heard, and actually  he fell out of the bed twice, a chair once  and the wheelchair once. Not so  good when it comes to  the fact he had just had major brain surgery after a fall.

 

After 4 days of being a resident  the bathroom became   the holding room for dirty  sheets, linens, towels  used diapers and pads ( remember that C’Diff) I  was ready  to  remove the patient from the 5 star facility and interaction with  some very  off putting aides  . I  called the head nurse and one of the administrators , after my  daughter was given the pads etc to  clean up the leaking Foley  bag. Since she was gowned and wiping down the room with cleaning cloths due to  the C’diff   maybe they  did think  she was a staff member, as we were told. Obviously  no-one else up  to  that point – knowing there was an issue with  C’diff wore those items. ( Benefit of the doubt)

Some aides did make a half hearted effort to “gown up” after the complaint, however,  latex gloves routinely  ended up  being  taken off and thrown into  the “general purpose waste basket”, well those that made it in as they  were thrown – I  was forever  picking these up and emptying the  room trash!

 

As for “housekeeping” I can’t remember that happening to  any  degree maybe weekly and only  once was there what I  call a thorough cleaning ( the Sunday  after I complained )  whereas in the previous two  facility  it was daily and sometimes twice a day.

 

 

The ‘weekend administrator” did get the bags of laundry and garbage out of the bathroom , did send in a cleaner  and apologized. The “head” nurse did get the Foley  bag removed, changed the mattress to  an air mattress,  as he was starting to  get a bed sore due to  being stationary and unable to  move on his own ( eg. roll over)  and was also very  uncomfortable due to  a pre-existing back condition. And so  it began…………

 

The rehab staff were very  good, he could not have intensive rehab at this facility , again only  so  often  due to  Medicare restrictions. But on the whole we were pleased. My  goal was to  have him ambulatory , able to  get into  a bed at home and to  be able to  get to  the bathroom. This was going to  mean  on a walker at least because this “Old House” was not wheelchair friendly.

Since there was definitely  an issue with  85% of the aides ( remember the staff that was above average according to  the Medicare evaluation  ) my  daughter would spend every  morning going with  him to  rehab, not the organized times etc of the CCRH we were expecting, she would stay  until after lunch  and I  would come later in the afternoon through the evening.  Night times were very bad for him, but he was on digoxin and although  he had adverse reactions  to  this drug we could not get  Doctors to  take him  off of it ( prescribed by  the ghost cardiologist from Mercy)

https://www.nhqualitycampaign.org/…/Drugs_that_may_cause_psychiatric_symptoms…visual hallucinations, fear, paranoia, agitation, anxiety. Sudden … Hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, confusion, mania, anxiety … Digoxin (Lanoxin*).
Note: the moment he was home and our cardiologist saw him digoxin was “nixed” and so  were many  of the other medications.
I am sure the administrative staff as well as a number of the aides were not at all happy  with  my  advocacy for my  husband. A “difficult patient” due to  medications, pain and confusion and a difficult wife 😉 . I  would ask you  to  remember this man went to  bed at Mercy  woke up eight days later after being intubated  and having respiratory  arrest unable to  move , unable to  speak ( due to  his vocal chords being stretched, ) not knowing where he was and what happened and having an 8 inch  slice taken out of his scalp. He remembers nothing at all from Mercy  , very  little from CCRH and too much  from Brookdale, Westlake.
 Patients were told they  could eat in the dining room  and for the most part the food was fine, the aides in the dining area were very  helpful  and the view of the duck pond a nice outlook. Mealtimes became a highlight to  one trapped in a wheelchair.
The call light response times were awful, in our case, of course being a “demanding patient” who  wanted to  use the bathroom or get out of the bed  and wheelchair due to  his discomfort didn’t help. The notice on the board in his room “call don’t fall” didn’t count for much.
The  Administrator did print out a  record of the response times to  the call light. Amazingly  they  had response times of 30  seconds  up  to  5 minutes.
What they  hadn’t realized with  the amount of time my  daughter and I  were putting in and the fact that as a blogger and ex- columnist I  have this penchant for documentation we also  kept a record of those call times and for the “most” part they  didn’t concur with  the print out. With  that printed out response time for his room number   I  received a bill for another patient, which  I  duly  returned, that had had that room previously.
March  17th  he fell again , this is an excerpt to  Medicare  appeals as they denied the cost of the emergency  room Dr.  after I  insisted Brookdale transport him to  St. John’s after yet another fall.

On March 17th I received a call from the night nursing staff at Brookdale that my husband had fallen trying to get out of his chair. The nurse informed me he had bruising to his abdomen and an abrasion to his left leg.They could not tell me if he had hit his head. Considering they stated he had only fallen 10 minutes previously to calling me   I was concerned they could not tell me whether he had hit his head and that bruising to the abdomen was already in place. I deemed it important considering the history of previous weeks of major brain bleed and surgery he should be checked out by someone other than an LPN. Hence the trip to St. John’s Westshore Emergency Dept. He was monitored in the ER and after a few hours sent back to Brookdale .

It is my contention that due to the recent history of falling and two brain bleeds the ER was the appropriate facility at 1 a.m in the morning. Brookdale, in my opinion did not have a qualified individual on duty or equipment to ascertain a diagnosis. The ER was the best place”

As time wore on and actually  his discharge times got put back , I  realized that, in our case , although the rehab therapy was very  good, it wasn’t enough. He was spending too much  time “waiting” and sitting in a wheelchair for the  two  to three hours of rehab and at least two  days a week where there was no  rehab at all. ( Again due to  Medicare restrictions). So  as his Dr. concurred and my  husband was unhappy  at the facility  and was at least able to  use the walker (with  help) and we felt we could manage his  care  we discharged him from Brookdale Westlake  on March 29th.
I am pleased to  say  that in April he went into out patient  physical therapy  at NeuroSpine Care, Sheffield Village, three times a week. He has progressed amazingly  well and they  have him transitioning to  a cane , able to  stand  and do  the things that make life normal. http://www.neurospinecare.com/
I do not agree with  Medicare ratings that this is a 5 star facility, but then again I  do  not know how low they  set the bar!
The best I  can give this facility  in rating , remembering it was supposed to  be, according to  Medicare, a 5 star facility  is a C minus. Although there were highlights such  as the rehab staff, the “aides” were another let down  and remember these are the individual that are dealing with  your loved one.  ( I  would say  my  general impression was that the aides were dealing with  quite a few patients each  shift and if their stated wages were anything to  go  by  they  need a raise in order the attract  better qualified individuals !
Remember this is a FOR PROFIT facility  and you  are the consumer not a charity  case and Medicare  and yourself will be paying for the “business”
of care and rehabilitation!!!!!!!
https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-trends/market-research-reports/healthcare-social-assistance/nursing-residential-care-facilities/nursing-care-facilities.html

 

July 11, 2019 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

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