Thank you all for your recent prayers.  The last few weeks have been very trying with my mother’s 10 day hospital stay from spinal surgery followed by a 10 day stay at a rehab facility.   30 minutes into the operation, the doctor’s assistant, dressed in full scrubs, came into the waiting room and called out “Allen family” and called my dad, 2 aunts, and myself,  into a room.  I thought my mother had gone Home to see Jesus.   What transpired was that when they got into the operating room, a last minute X-ray revealed my mom had broken an additional disc in her back – which explains the unbearable pain she was experiencing.  She had been scheduled for surgery already but I ended up having to take her to the emergency room for admission prior to. We signed the consent form for the additional surgery and they continued the operation.  Mom came out of the surgery okay but had some serious hallucinations from a Fentanyl pain patch they placed on her.  I’ve never witnessed anything like – lets just say I was accused of locking children in the coat closet in her hospital room.  There were some other really “out there” sightings.  It was pretty scary.  Once I found out the patch was on her (which I was unaware of) I insisted it be removed.  The hallucinations went away about a day later.  Caution:  If your loved one is having surgery, be sure they do NOT use a Fentanyl patch.  I’ve read some pretty awful stuff about it on the web and seen first hand how it reacts.   I brought mom home this past Wednesday, the day before her 80th birthday,  and she seems to be getting along pretty well.   Improving each day.  Gave her small surprise birthday party (mainly family).   I have to give her daily injections for the next two years of “Forteo” a new drug that strengthens bone.  Dad isn’t into giving shots – Neither am I for that matter but we do what we have to do!  Mom’s walking with a walker and sitting and standing pretty well.  The lying down in bed and getting up is a bit trying for her but I’m hopeful it will improve.  I picked up a shower chair and a new walker yesterday.   It’s been quite the trial this past 3 weeks with very little sleep for me and Dad and MANY challenges with mom.  The doctor asked me if I wanted a nursing job!   Lots of hours spent at the hospital and rehab facility so I haven’t touched my music in weeks or been able to update this blog.   I have to say the biggest disappointment was that the hospital lost my mom’s special heart blanket I had bought her for Christmas this past year.  I actually sifted through bags of laundry looking for it myself to no avail – was told it got scooped up with the laundry.  The blanket simply went in the BLACK HOLE.  This wasn’t any ordinary blanket;  Softest blanket I’ve ever felt with a beautiful swirling heart print.   I purchased the blanket at a local store before Christmas and of course, they did not carry it any longer so I scoured the internet for over 3 hours late one evening, well, morning, and within 30 minutes after finally praying to find the blanket, it appeared on my computer screen!   I ordered it and received it in time to give it to my mom for an Easter present.  She was delighted!

I will say, one good thing came out of this trial.   At the hospital, I heard someone singing and playing guitar in the next room and remembered the hospital had students from FSU provide “music therapy” for the patients.   I invited the young lady into my mom’s room to sing for us.  This girl had the voice of an angel.   I watched my mom close her eyes and relax as the young lady first sang a slow song.  She then performed an upbeat song, “Down By the Riverside”.  My mom, just a few days out of spine sugary, was tapping her hand to the music, smiling, and moving her feet to the rhythm.   Watching the engagement gave me an epiphany.   I’ve had it on my mind and in my heart to sing the songs I’ve written at retirement homes.  I feel it’s a calling.  I’ve never played or performed anyone else’s songs (covers), just mine.  Well this epiphany struck me like a bolt of lightning.  I’m supposed to implement some of these familiar songs with mine!  After watching my mother engage in the music performance with “recognizable songs”, I could envision seniors listening to me do the same and then I can add a few of mine.    I’m certainly no Barbara Streisand but I can carry a tune, so I’ve been researching top songs to sing in retirement and/or nursing homes.   A common thread of songs kept coming up so I’ve been working on a song list of songs I like and remember, and practicing them.  See if these ring a bell:  “If I Had a Hammer”, “I’ll Fly Away”, “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain”, “Down By The Riverside”, “Moon River”, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”, “Kumbaya”, “Amazing Grace”, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”, “Home On The Range”, “Old Susanna”, “Take Me Home Country Road”, “Burning Ring of Fire”, “This Land is Your Land”, “You Are My Sunshine”.   You know, on that “You are My Sunshine”, those are NOT happy words!    As a songwriter, it’s really interesting to really listen to the lyrics to some of these classics.    I’ve listed the 15 songs above just in case any of you out there have the same idea and want to volunteer to sing/play some of the oldies too.   Thought I’d practice on my mother and use the toe tapping test!   Thank you all again for your continued prayers for my mother’s recovery.