Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Wheh! What a Day!

WHAT A DAY! Between my personal stupidity...I do suffer from this on very rare occasions...and the way the day unfolded, I am exhausted. I am having surgery soon. Not my first one with this doctor, so I know the ropes. Usually I am called by the hospital and put through a morning of absolute boredom while travelling from one department to another to get all types pre-op tests run. The hospital didn't call me, so I decided to call them. They told me they didn't do this anymore and I should talk to my doctor about it.

Well, as luck would have it, I had my pre-op exam with the doc in a couple days so I decided I'd wait and ask. I did. He is gone on vacation (I have NO problem with this, by the way) and I was seen by one of his P.A.'s. When everything was done and we were both all happy she asked me if I had any questions and I did. Yo know, those tests I hadn't been asked to have done.

She excused herself for a minute so she could talk this over with the nurses and see what exactly I needed. 5 minutes and she was back. Yes. We need you to have blood work, x-ray and an EKG. OK. Can I have these at Oaklawn (10 mile drive) or do I have to go to Bronson (place of surgery and 25 mile drive).

"When am I supposed to do this?"
"Anytime, but no later than Friday."
"This Friday?"
"Yeah, that's impossible. I'm working the rest of this week."

She left. Nurse came in. Sat down at the computer. Said, I'm typing you all new orders. It is not necessary to go to Bronson for this...You can go to Oaklawn. Anytime, but they would have to be done by Friday. This meant I would have to miss work.

I reported in to my afternoon job today at the Lutheran church and started in by asking Pastor Matyas what he preferred as far as my not being there long enough to get the tests run. He thought it would be a good idea if I did everything today and got it right out of my way. You know, he was so right about that.  So I went.

The next 30 minutes (getting the car going and driving to Marshall from Albion) were wacky as hell and I'm not even going to tell you why...although it was all quite entertaining. After 2 hours of running all over the hospital, I got everything done and I'm back home. (Wheh!)  I guess I could have gone in to work, but seriously, I'd have left in 30 mins. anyway. Besides sitting here sipping my iced tea and already in my PJs feels really good after a day like today.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Flashcard Memories

We have been planning a big blowout celebration 3 weeks  from today.  Mom would have been 100 years old by that day, having passed her actual birthday a few days before.  She has talked about making it to 100 a long time and we were excited that she was doing well and would be able to celebrate such a momentous occasion.  However, Thursday morning, Mom had a stroke.  She is now transitioning to a better place and by the time the big celebration day dawns on the calendar we will have celebrated a bigger occasion; her home going.

These moments from the last few weeks with Mom are scattered about in my brain and I am carefully sweeping them up and gathering them together in my arms, held close to my heart forever.  These recent memories I trace back to my strongest, early memories of Mama.  I was 4.  We lived on a rice farm in Arkansas.  Mom would walk her five children (me returning with her, still too young) to school in a row along the top of the rice levee ditch.  Carrying a hoe in one hand, ever watchful for the water moccasins that sometimes came out and stretched themselves along the ditch bank.  She was fearless with that hoe.  I still have flashcard images of her doing war with her weapon of choice; killing snakes longer than she was tall.  Chopping off their heads, holding the still wiggling body at the end of the hoe handle, tossing it aside, telling us kids it might not have a head but it would wiggle until the sun went down.  She kept inventory.  During our six months living there she proudly proclaimed that she killed 19 snakes.  I'm sure she did.

She carried that warriors heart that fought the snakes throughout her life.  Doing battle against the times.  Partnering with my father; making the best world possible for their children to grow in.  Ingraining within us the importance of education and the example of consistently working hard and more importantly the example of believing and trusting God for all things.

They have told us yesterday, Mama had 2 days to a week left.  They stressed how important it was for us to see her now while she is still aware.  Holding her hand and looking into those blue eyes, a mouth struggling to form words with a tongue refusing to obey.  Letting us feel her love and somehow asking the question, "Where's James" waiting for that last son to arrive as he travels over the highways from Virginia to see Mom.  She will be aware until he is here to say goodbye. Her warrior heart always fought for her children and she will fight to tell us all goodbye, to let us know we are loved, no matter.

I wish I could show you those flashcard memories but the album is too big.  Stretching over my nearly 73 years.  Image after image becomes vivid in my memory always there.  A life painted with love.  Daddy told me one day when I was fighting with Mom, "Sure she may be wrong sometimes.  But always remember that everything she does, she does out of love."  It is true.  The things she did were the result of the love from her heart.  What a tremendous legacy to leave behind.  I hope I can follow her example.  I will take up my vigil with brothers and sister; our way of letting Mom
know we feel her love and are sending our with her.  Love you Mom.  Always.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


So this morning I took Sweet Pea to the yard to perform her a.m. ablutions.  Such a good girl (or needy girl) she quickly took care of business and I called her to the tree.  Now our adorable Sweet Pea is an accomplished escape artist.  We have done everything (everything) to contain the dog in our fenced in back yard.  Nothing worked.  She always found a way out.  Finally in desperation we decided we would have to NEVER let her outside w/o being restrained in some manner.

We have a tree in the center of the yard (it is now our dog tree).  Around the tree we put a chain and secured it with a padlock so we could adjust the slack in the chain according to how fast the tree grew.  To one end of the chair we secured a 25' metal cable encased in plastic.  It has those hooky things on both ends.  One end we hooked to the dog tree; the other to the dog's collar.  This gave some room and she still can reach about 1/2 of the back yard.  We hated doing this but our experience with her let us know we had no other option.  It has worked pretty good, mostly.

But, back to this morning.  The long cable was in a nice circle pattern.  It happens.  I was standing right in the middle of it.  I called Sweet Pea to come ("come tree") and she came up to me and just gingerly gaze over at whatever she was looking at while completely ignoring me.  I reached down to fasten her leash to her collar and unhook the cable.  That's when she saw it... and

SQUIRREL!  She was gone.  The cable snapped against my leg and I doubled over in pain.  I admit freely that I bawled like a little sissy girl.  And then I bawled some more.  Seriously, I was in a lot of pain.  I finally got smart and began praying because I was having a hard time putting any weight on the injured leg.  I asked God to just help me get into the house and He did.  The phone was ringing as I opened the door.  My sister, Phyllis, was calling wanting to catch me before I left for work.  I was still crying and she consoled me and soon I was able to stop blubbering.

When I got off the phone I went to check the leg.  The top layer of skin was off... and a huge red welt remained undrr the skin.  At least I wasn't bleeding.  My leg had a lump (not goose egg, more like ostrich or so it seemed to me) and everything was turning purple.  I just wanted to be able to walk enough to get to work.  That's when I asked for prayer from my FB contacts and got it together and headed off to work.

The day is done.  The prayers supported me and I was able to do my job and by day's end the pain was mostly gone when I stood on my leg.  I am thankful; for prayer support... for a God who hears and mostly because this could have been much worse.  At first I feared the bone could be broken; you know old people's bones break easily.

That's  it.  Not really exciting...  but, you really have to watch out for those squirrels when walking a dog...

This is it... warning.  it is gross.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Me and the Wheelchair

Sunday while visiting with my Mom I managed to get into a wrestling match with her chair; wheelchair, that is! My shoe somehow got caught by the chair and all I could see was me doing a sommersalt over the seat and winding up in some awkward position in the floor from where I would cry out in my most dignified, embarrassed voice "call 911!" As exciting as this image seemed in that second, I determined I'd keep on my feet no matter what. I did while feeling my foot develop some kind of OW!OW!OW! DAMMIT! OW! That hurts! sensation.

I had been moving the chair to get it out of the way; we were headed out to lunch with Mom. I was sure I would have a sore foot but didn't think much more about it. By the time we went to the car after lunch, I was having trouble walking. Jamelah left me in the car and took Mom back to her apartment and got her settled in. When we got home, I pulled off my shoe expecting to see some mangled mess, but nothing different. I took my Sunday afternoon nap and when I woke up I stood up only to find I could not stand any weight on my foot at all. I cried like a sissy little girl then I yelled at Jamelah for help. I had to pee and I wasn't sure I could make it to the bathroom. I sent her to my sister's house to borrow Phyllis's old walker and she brought it back and I was able to hobble in to the bathroom.

Bathrooms are made for getting great ideas and I had one. I remembered the vicadan (I know this is spelled wrong, spellchecker; get over it. I'm not going to look it up. everyone knows what I'm talking about) the dentist had given me when I had a root canal the previous fall. Yes! So, off I went to sleep. That was a good idea. We entertained the idea of heading for the ER but they prefer you to see your primary care doctor so I thought I'd just wait and call the doctor first thing in the morning for an appointment; the pain med was working just fine; no hurry. I still had 1/2 bottle of vicadan left.

Morning came and I began the calls to the doctor's office (Dr. Burkhardt is an orthopedic surgeon who did both my knees and few other odd jobs on me. He and I are on a first name basis now.) Seriously, the soonest they could get me in was 3:30 on Thursday. My foot could be broken but I would have to wait until Thursday to get an appointment. I told them I was not picky I'd be completely happy to see the PA. I just needed to get my foot xrayed to see if I had broken it. Well, she explained to me again: the soonest they would have someone in the office to approve the order for an xray would be Thursday afternoon at 3:30. If I wanted an xray before then, I'd have to go to xpress care or see my primary care doctor. "Thanks" hmmmmmmmmmmm. I made the appointment. I called my Primary care doctor. She would see me at 3:30 Monday afternoon. If they had a cancellation they would give me a call to come in sooner.

Dr. Johnson and her staff were extremely sweet to me and mentioned the word "stubborn" a couple times especially when she asked me how I had gotten to her office and I looked at her rather perplexed and said "I drove, I didn't walk!" I had not taken any vicodan all day just so I could drive and I figured that I'd have to drive myself to Marshall and get xrayed after she got through with me because that's how that works. The Albion clinic would be closed by the time I got out my appt with her.

All true except going in for the xray part. She did not give me a slip for an xray: she sent me straight to ... you guessed it ... the ER! and told me not to get someone else to drive me there. Luckily my nephew had stopped over and was helping with "stuff" before his ISOM class at New Hope, so he drove me to the ER and abandoned me there (not really). Jamelah would stop for me on her way home from work in Battle Creek.

I explained how I had lost the match with my mom's chair to the staff at the hospital. For some reason they found me slightly amusing and took really good care of me. After the xrays were completed the doctor told me I had been wrong. The chair did not win; my foot did. I was a bit confused by this and he laughed and said "your foot won; not the chair. Fortunately for you, there are no broken bones, just bad bruising. It should heal quickly and you'll be fine." Yea! and with a new script of vicadan (however you spell it; no one can spell it right when taking the stuff. I'll look it up later). Jamelah had arrive by then. She hadn't had supper so we headed through Wendy's drive thru and I got a Frosty. Wouldn't you say I deserved one by this time?

My foot hurts and I'm trying to get back up to my regular speed quickly. I have to work Thursday. I don't have time to gimp about. But, it looks like I will be "gimpy" for a while now. Just thankful that my foot won and not the chair.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Old Woman & the I-Pod

My daughter gave me her I-Pod when she purchased a new I-phone Simply because she used the phone for everything including her music and didn't use
I-pod any more. My computer had become problematic and a technician had installed a new operating system which left the I-tunes she had loaded on it inoperable. I asked her to put it on my new operating system but she explained to me how these work and the fact that she could not install it but just so many times and she was about out of the ability to do so and had to save her one last installation in case her computer crashed again and she would have to buy a new one. So, anyway, I got the I-Pod so I could listen to I-tunes. Yippee Skippee!

Then today I had a doctor's appointment. I decided I'd take the I-Pod with me since I knew I'd be sitting there a loooonnnnnggggg time. I practiced playing Angry Birds at home to make sure I could actually do it on the device. I could. All was well. I stuck the gadget in my pocket and off I went. Sure enough I had to wait. I pulled out my new toy and opened Angry Birds and was ready for some fun and games. Unfortunately, it was ornery on me. It just would not let me fire my damn bird at the stupid pigs. They kept just plopping down on the ground and another one would jump right up in the sling and I was talking to the stupid birds and trying to figure out why my shooter was being so mean to me. I tried to back out and reload the game and somehow wound up turning on the speaker and some girl starting seranading me at the top of her lungs. Nice of her, but I do not have earbuds on and I'm in the doctor's office. This is not the time for a private concert. Of course I know the right thing to do is to simply turn off the music. So I did.... try. That is. I tried. I kept hitting all the buttons on the screen. I hit the back button, I hit something else. I hit "settings." Nothing there about the volume. I tried turning if off. It kept singing. Seriously. Singing more and more loudly.

And then they called my name. I stuck the stupid, consarned noise maker in my purse hoping everything in it would drown the sound. Got out of my seat and started up the hall to the open door and the waiting nurse. (A new one, a young man named Pat). He said "I believe your phone is ringing," because honestly, the purse did not drown out the sound. "No" I said that is not my phone. I pulled out the naughter device and said, "I can't figure out how to turn it off." He laughed and said, as I handed the obnoxious device to him and he immediately disciplined it and it shut right up. He handed it back to me and I sat it in the corner of my purse. He said "I just hit the pause button. I'll show you how it works when we get in the room." Once we were in the examining room he took it back and gave me a brief lesson on the correct way to control and I-pod. My, I have never learned so much in a doctor's office before. I feel it was time well spent.

Aside from that; I got an excellent report from the doctor. I sure am a fine old woman and becoming more and more technically savvy every day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I Got Is A Free Pass!

I felt intimidated by the hugeness of the hospital. Trust me, it is huge! And there's lots of it; I mean, there is a campus of hospitals to make up The Hospital and each hospital on the campus is huge. Altogether, that makes it SUPER HUGE! and in GREAT HUGENESS. I was correct to feel a bit panicked and very intimidated. Jamelah said "Don't have a panic attack!" as I gulped when we approached the first parking ramp (not our designated ramp... we, had to pass 2 more before we got to ours). Humph! I'm not panicking. Yep. I'm not, well, not yet anyway.

Our instructions were precise (which is probably why I doubted them) and clear. They took us to the right ramp, the right door, the right hallway, the right office. Weird.

Jamelah had brought her laptop and settled into a comfy couch in a large outer lounge area and settled in for some enjoyable reading time. I headed into the inner sanctum to face the dreaded ordeal. I was quickly checked in and sent off with the nurse for my first inspection. She left me to catch my breath and I was soon greeted by 2 medical students who were "happy" (their words, not mine) to make my acquaintance and wanted to know if I would mind if they "observed" the process. "Nope!" you know, the more the merrier.

Next the assistant doctor came and inspected me with the students "observing". They then left me to cool my heels until the Real doctor would come in to look me over. The nicest thing about having your vocal chords examined is that you remain fully clothed. There is none of that uncomfortable business of getting undressed and stacking your clothes on a chair in proper order so none of your unmentionables are visible. Sort of like, you weren't really wearing them when you came in.

Anyway, the good doctor made his appearance and there I was in a tiny cubicle of an office with 4 doctors (that's right 4... well, 2 med students and 2 doctors) to inspect my vocal chords. The room seemed too close. We had to leave this first room and go to another one which contained the TV monitors and sound equipment. Down the hall we went in our convoy of 5. And who said this wouldn't be any fun.

The doctor sprayed some numbing stuff up my nose because that is how they would get the camera down to my vocal chords. I had to wait a few seconds so we could chat a bit and become better acquainted before they began getting intimate with my voice box. The doctor handed me a microphone (seriously, a microphone) then said, "I am going to give you a short story to read. I want to see how your vocal chords move as you read."

"Really," I said, "I thought maybe we were going to sing karaoke." He chuckled, "well, maybe we'll do that when we finish up here." Then I chuckled and let him know he probably wouldn't want me singing, mike or no mike. So, the process began. I got to read the story a bit then make a lot of eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee sounds and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhs and Ha, ha ha... and hee hee hees. Then it was over. There was some chatting it up between him and his #1 doc and questions to his students. They seemed to all be having a great old time and in perfect agreement with him on everything.

When they got through "conferring" the good doctord told me this:

1. I had an infection on my vocal chords. This was why they appeared white. (I got to see them on the TV monitors too) One was worse than the other. This is a common side effect people have who use Advair on a daily basis as I do. I would be given a script to kill the stuff and he would make a recommendation to my primary care doctor concerning this. During his discussion regarding his letter to my doctor, I decided all by myself that I'd just quit using the damn stuff. It costs too much anyway.

Step one. Check. That's done

2. The vocal chords are muscles. Just like other muscles if not used they become weakened. Weekend athletes learn they cannot workout all at once without suffering the consequences. They have to remain in shape and keep in shape. IN OTHER WORDS, PEOPLE! He told me my biggest problem was that I wasn't talking enough. That's right. Since I had retired, I had stopped talking as much and my vocal chords had weakened. He recommended that I read aloud at home, practice using my diaphragm and would probably begin to observe that talking would become increasingly easier and easier. WELL! KNOCK MY SOCKS OFF! I got a free pass. The doctor told me to talk. No! I will not shut up. I have to talk. Listen. I'm just following doctor's orders, so talk I will.

Don't you just love it? No?

Step two. I shall work on it... and enjoy every minute.

3. Then he told me he wants me back in 6 weeks to see how I am doing. Really? Come back here? To this SUPER HUGE place with its 10,000 parking ramps. Humph. You think it's necessary?

Step Three We'll just have to wait and see about that one. I've got an appointment. Maybe.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Organ Donor?

Mom hasn't driven for years but has kept an active driver's license to use for ID purposes. It was easy to maintain since Michigan lets a person renew by mail every other time. This was the time she had to go in and take the test to get a new license. I knew this would not work and we decided instead she should just get the Michigan ID.

So this morning we went to the Secretary of State's office to get her an ID. We pulled our number tag and took a seat. Mom always reads any word she sees. I always ignore it. This time she was reading a sign adhered to the back of the seat across from us. "Sign up today to become an organ donor". Then she said, "I don't want to be a donor."

Me; not paying attention. "I don't have any organs I want to donate." Now she has my attention: I'm thinking, "huh?". I have that organ at the house I thought I'd donate to Jamelah." (me really confused now. I can read the sign... but I can't figure out what organ she has at home to she had ever planned to donate to Jamelah).

Then she continued: "She was interested int taking music lessons and I thought I'd give it to her then".

Light dawns. She is talking about a piano. A beautiful Baldwin. She bought it when Jamelah was a kid and taking piano lessons. I am not going to explain to her that the organ on the sign has nothing to do with music. I'm just going to enjoy the moment.