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Friday, November 3rd, 2017
3:24 pm - Still Not Home
I talked a nurse into weighing me by piggybacking on another resident's trip to the weight room.  I am off the iv, and the head of nurses came in yesterday and removed the stand.  I was glad to see it go, but a bit concerned, as I was not weighed as part of the decision making process.  The time before that, I was 205.8, up from 204.5.  Today, I  was 202.8.

current mood: satisfied

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Thursday, July 27th, 2017
7:27 pm - Tempest in a Teapot
After the first week here at the Osage Rehab, some of the aides helped me change my bed around.

When I first got here, the head of my bed was in the corner.  Half of the room was behind me.  People passing in the hall could see most of me, but I had no clue anyone was there if they were quiet.

Before they moved me from the gurney to bed, I had them swap my head for my feet, which threw off the bed control.  When I wanted my head raised, I pushed the foot icon.

Somebody complained (not to me).

One wall had a light with three settings, the width of a hospital bed.  Looking at a beige wall 24/7 is soooo energizing!  Some of the younger girls helped me reposition the bed under the reading light.

The professional gripers began showing up, furious that I had rearranged the room.  More people arrived, and all were shouting at others.  Finally, I woke up my Marine drill sergeant bellow.  "Quiet!"

"Since I am the only person who will be here 23/7, my opinion is the only one that counts.  Without people like me, you people would not have jobs here."

current mood: calming

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Sunday, July 23rd, 2017
2:27 pm - Long Time Gone
I should have gone to the doctor's office back in November when my first symptoms appeared, but my youngest sister, who used to be a nurse, talked some very good logic and allied my fears.

Before I got to the scheduled mouth to groin look-see surgery, my body just gave out.  I wear one of  those lifeline buttons around my  neck, but, seriously, I never thought I'd actually USE it.  I wore it mostly for mom.  Since I live alone,  as she was at that time in her life, and it only ran $35.00 a month, it was worth it to keep the peace.  Her next comment, instead of being the praise I'd expected to hear, was a snide "Mine only costs $25 a month."  The company claims that, since I live so far from town, they had to charge more.  Everything they've ever sent me came by US mail.

Several of my "horsey" friends found me after going to great lengths, and, of course, family and friends.  I did not tell anyone…I could not…I was in a coma.  The tail end of that arrived May 5th, when I could (after uncomfortably long pauses between words) answer, mostly nonsensically.

I'd start to explain what happened, but couldn't keep events in sequence, much less finish a thought.  When my think time took too long, a less taxing question was posed.

Sample: (Nurse, doctor, friend, family) "What's your name?"

Looonnngg wait.

"Is your name Sandra?"  

current mood: thoughtful

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Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
7:53 am - Onward and Upward
Yesterday, I made a +.2 tenths of a pound gain.  This morning, I was + 1.2.  Changing ONE THING at a time...

The result was painful.  Tomorrow, I'll learn if no pain/no gain is part of this condition...

current mood: Pleased

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Saturday, March 25th, 2017
9:42 am
I weighed 196.8 this morning, down another .8#, down 1# yesterday, and spent two days at 199.6, my only stable weight day since the colonoscopy.  I take a prednisone tablet night and morning until I get to the GI specialist in Ottumwa on Thursday.  The pain in the lower GI tract has stabilized on the right side, about 2-3" up, on down to my anus.  Some spotting, but no blood-filled stool like happened two days after the colonoscopy and instigated an emergency room visit.

Yesterday, I added a pudding cup of tapioca, but fed the last half to the outdoor cats, who were suspicious of it at first, but I sprinkled some blobs on top of the Special Kitty outdoor cat mix, then left the rest of the cup.  This morning, they’d gotten all but the 1/4” outer ring of recessed material from it.  Chicken breast boneless/skinless chunks with 1/3 Giorgio’s mushroom stems and pieces continues to be a good fit.

I’ve decided my next book title (glommed from my copious notes on med consumption, intake/output results, changing only one food at a time, keeping intricate, annotated records; My body is sending practically NO signals (like go urinate, push to expel…)  will be THE COMPLETE POOP SCOOP.  Sure to be a winner, right?

current mood: frustrated

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Monday, March 13th, 2017
6:04 pm - Colonoscopy DONE
The dread colonoscopy is done.  I have “irritated bowl” syndrome so severe that he only went up a little way, as from there on up, it was too torn up to safely pass the scope.  He took biopsies, and in a week, we’ll get the results.  He thinks it is ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, but we won’t know for sure until the results come back.  The good news is that there should be medicine eventually.  (More blood tests next week, then…)

My sister LBHH's reaction: Good.  Not cancer.

current mood: relieved

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Friday, March 10th, 2017
9:37 am - Braggin' Rights
Found on the Web site of a local farm seed/fertilizer business who WOULD NOT BILL ME for seed/fertilizer because I was NOT A CUSTOMER.

MFA Agri Services ... Corydon is located in South Central Iowa in Wayne County. We are a small city of 1585 persons, the largest of 9 cities in the county.

Now, that’s what passes locally for braggin’ rights.

RC, the man from Allerton who does my hay, called me yesterday after placing a $3000.+ order for fertilizer/seed with them for 40 acres on my farm.

When I called this morning and asked if I could mail them a check, the fellow, sounding perfectly friendly, put me on hold, came back on the line and said, “Rick [the farmer haying my ground] evidently took both the copies for my order."  He then got my number and will call me back later today.

current mood: resigned

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Saturday, March 4th, 2017
6:29 pm - On Words ∼ J. K. Rowling
Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.  Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it. J. K. Rowling

current mood: fragment

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Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
8:44 am - Paraphrased Aphorism
When you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.

current mood: pleased

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Sunday, February 19th, 2017
8:04 am - Worded Just Right
Sometimes I'll be reading along and hit something an author has worded just right to explain something true to me, but that I never thought to put into words, or did a clumsier job of writing.

Reading along in Renegade's Pride: A Cahill Ranch Novel by B. J. Daniels, I hit just such an idea on page 87.  Two workers in a hair dressing shop suddenly find themselves alone unexpectedly, their appointments late/no show.

"Mine's late, too," Daisy said.  "Maybe there's a traffic jam."  They both chuckled at that, since they didn't even have one stoplight in town and most people felt stop signs were just suggestions.

Nailed it.  When I see a car going south at the same time as one going north, or one about to turn out onto the road as I pass, (even if it is a tractor), I am fond of saying/thinking "traffic jam".  Seeing/being part of a threesome = rush hour.

 I've also noted a potentially unhealthy tendency to pull out to the mail box, expecting oncoming traffic to be able to swing wide if my vehicle doesn't quite fit before the paving begins.  

current mood: tickled

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Saturday, February 18th, 2017
8:33 am - Book Kiosk Find
When I took the stool sample to the Wayne County Hospital today, I came home with To Distant Shores by Jill Gregory, a thick romance from 1980.  Today when I went to catalog it into my Read/Want to Read file, I noticed the first page was stamped with Humeston Public LIbrary, but not marked as withdrawn.  (Last time this happened, I'd paid $.75 plus shipping and handling, so I guess I have a bit less to lose, as Humeston is within 20-25 miles of me.)

I looked up the on line contact info and sent off a query.  I don't know yet if I'll be reading and returning or finishing the catalog entry and keeping the book.

current mood: upset

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Friday, February 17th, 2017
8:41 am - Doctor Visit
I finally got to the doctor.  I'd called a week ago for a appointment, but he'd been out sick.  (Occupational hazard?)

His office partner, who'd treated me over the years and knew that I'd used Testalon pearlies instead of cough syrup when I got past the point where a cough drop was working, had called in a script for me, which I'd picked up and used as needed.  (I could have up to three a day, but only took one if I couldn't quit coughing when I went to bed, so had only had three, not seven by the time I actually got to see my doctor.)

I'd also had bleeding which my former nurse sister labled hemorrhoids off and on since before the election.  

When he entered, he noted I looked a bit pale, and added blood work to the known issues list.

I told him I hadn't been going outside much, even though the weather has been far warmer than expected for this time of year.  

He looked up the last time I had a colonoscopy, which I'd already had the nurse do last week when I'd first contacted the doctor's office.  The fellow who performed the surgery had told me I didn't need another one for ten years, but I'd had that one in Jan. of 2011.  My doctor countermanded his advice, as I was now having issues.

He ended the visit with the promise that we'd be seeing a lot more of each other.  He kept patting my shoulder when he'd come or go from the room as various other people got me the supplies I needed for the stool sample, drew blood, etc.

I ate at Hy Vee's cafeteria afterward.  I'd tried to do a fasting as I knew I needed a blood draw sometime soon, but since this was a replacement appointment, it wasn't until 2 pm, and I didn't last that long.  I broke down and had a slice of Texas toast with butter and grape jelly about 11. 

current mood: sigh

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Saturday, February 11th, 2017
8:12 am - Maxine Cards
A friend sent me some new Maxine cards, some of which she'd never seen.

Some of those I’ve never seen, either.  My mother got me hooked on them.  She turns 93 in May.  Last year, at her birthday party, she forgot her grandson’s name three times.  I was sitting next to her, and she asked, in three different ways, “Who’s that handsome young man at the head of the table?”

In February of this year, she was again at a family birthday party (for that same grandson).  She forgot his mother, WHO IS HER CAREGIVER, and had brought her to the party.  So sad.  She used to love to read, but is now nearly blind.  She has Alzheimer’s.

When we were all in Mississippi at her competency hearing, she was asked how many daughters she had.  She said “four” (the number of CHILDREN she has.)  The judge then asked her to name them.  Without hesitating, she came out with “Lou, Bonnie, Louise and Sandy.”  Other than giving Lou, twice, she named them in the order of whom she saw most frequently.

We put her in a top assisted living facility.  I took her around like I was introducing a new horse into a strange pasture and wanted to be sure it knew that it was home, how to get to food, water, salt and shelter.  A worried nurse’s aide was trying to help her, but had no idea how to do it, so I just sort of took over.  I’d link arms, ask her what she wanted to do and WAIT.  If she came up with something doable, we then did it at once.  If she was stuck, I suggested things - go outside for a walk, go to her room to rest, go to the cafeteria for a snack, locate something to read (books and newspapers were NOT in the same place…) where to get help, how to get back to her room.

If she messed up, instead of reacting, I’d wait until she asked something.  “Is this my room?” she popped out with once, having turned left instead of right, but getting on the proper side of the hall and the right number of doors down from the corner.  I did NOT want that to be a “lose” instead of a “win”, as she was only one misstep off.

“What do you think?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Are you in a safe place?”


“If you mess up, will anything bad happen to you?”  (She’d been meeting and greeting for over an hour at that point, and NOBODY was anything other than kind and helpful, whether they were resident or staff.)

“No.  Should I open the door?”  I nodded, and she did, peeking in.  The secretary, who had a wide window area on the far side of the office instead of a solid wall, so was well aware of what I’d been up to, smiled helpfully at her, but said nothing.

“That’s not my room, is it?”

“Nope.  Do you see anything anywhere that you recognize?”

Turning in a 360° circle, she saw the entryway with the doors outside, the huge table with a beautiful huge bouquet of colorful flowers on it, the hall she lived on visible on the far side, including her door, with a sign “Emily Reed” on it, sticking out.  She got very excited and said, “I see my room!”  Two visitors and the secretary CLAPPED for her!

Bonnie, the middle sister, who had showed up after going back to the motel to take her dog for a walk, caught up with us after a successful walk around the outside of the facility.  Mom had walked until she did’t want to any more, turned in the proper direction, and was back by the doors.  There was a large circle you pushed to open them from the outside.

Bonnie, tired after three seconds of mom not figuring it out, rushed over and did it for her.  Great.  And afterward, when neither of us were around, who was going to do that?  I tried to get Bon to let mom think things out for herself.  Instead, she said, “Promise me you’ll never forget who I am.”

I was sick inside.  That was one promise mom would NOT be able to keep, no matter what else might happen.

Lou lives in Minnesota, Bonnie in Raleigh, NC, so eventually, mom needed more care than she was getting down there in Mississippi, with her three daughters at least a thousand mile away, one way.

Lou placed her in a brand new facility only three miles from her home in Rochester, Minnesota.  (Originally, mom didn’t want to be where it was cold, but she was by then past the point where she could take herself outside and be counted on to get herself back inside safely.)

So, Maxine is a happy/sad memory for me.  Thanks for sending them!  I really laughed.

current mood: reminiscing

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Thursday, February 9th, 2017
4:38 pm - On When to Be Silent ∼ Homer
Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.

current mood: Remembering when I SHOULD have…

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Monday, February 6th, 2017
8:11 pm - On Life ∼ Robert Frost
In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.

Robert Frost

current mood: consumate

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Wednesday, February 1st, 2017
7:19 pm - Magnetic North Shifted?
Today, I sat in my car at the head of the circle drive to be sure I caught the hay guy to give him a message.  The sky filled FILLED with Canada geese, half mile long strings flying in parallel V's.  Don’t know what their excuse was, but at 3:30 PM Feb 1, 2017, THEY WERE WINGING DUE WEST, honking their beaks off. I can think of no body of water large enough to sustain that many until they cross the interstate out of Des Moines.   If they don't tip north to do that, they have a long flight ahead.

Magnetic north suddenly shifted?

current mood: puzzled

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Monday, January 30th, 2017
9:38 pm - Canada Geese Made It to Des Moines
I took Audra the Audi up for service on Monday, a 40's lovely day, and when I left the dealership, there went the Canada geese, flying out to the Saylorville Lake just north of there... Their group had doubled in size.  I was trying to decide if they'd made good time, or not.  In the city, you can't hear the honks.  Too much ambient noise in the background.  (The dealership is the first business off the DM beltline, with four lanes of traffic each direction at that point.  A few miles south, staying on the road as it goes under the interstate, you come to the largest mall in DM: Merle Hay Mall.)

I got some stuff I've never seen anywhere else in the frozen section of TARGET.  Would you believe, I didn't even know they HAD one?  My freezer that got unplugged is now officially full.  Top shelf is the oldest stuff, so I can keep track.  Now all I have to do is eat faster than the freezer burn.

Bummer!  When I got home, I couldn't find the glasses I just put the new lens in Dec. 3rd.  They were the Rayban granny style glasses [or Benjamin Franklins] with a light weight titanium frame, and this time, the techs got the soft focus stuff right.  (Before, I had to tip my head back to keep the book in focus.)  I am sick.  I'm not sure I can afford to replace them right now, after my shopping spree.

I looked up the spelling of the lake, so I'd have it right, and read, "Picture a beautiful eight acre fishing lake that will be surrounded by a great lawn for concerts and games, an open air civic shelter for large gatherings, a picnic ..."

Contrast that with the lake I'm 8 miles southwest of – Lake Rathbun, second largest in Iowa, at 21.13 miles.  Fish hatchery, water purification, boating, recreational locations abound on both sides of the dam.  The "beach" area strikes me as pretty chinzy, however.  (says the girl who lived in Chicago, making multiple trips to a FAR, FAR larger lake...)

Chicago sits on the shores of Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes, which stretches from western Michigan, 118 miles across, to the shores of Illinois and Wisconsin on the west and Indiana to the south.

current mood: depressed

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Tuesday, January 24th, 2017
10:03 pm - Canada Geese Sighting!
I was on my way home from the closest town when I spied 15 Canada geese, heading NORTH.  I had just crossed the city edge, going 30, and gradually sped up to 55, counting as I went.  [Not another car on the road, in either direction.]

Oh, those poor, confused souls, once they get there, wherever there is, and the weather reverts to normal…

Six miles later, I pulled up to my mailbox, then drove itno the garage, no geese in sight yet, although the road runs parallel to their route to water at this point.  As I walked from garage to house, here they came, too high to count.  I sure did enjoy the honking, however.  It really made me smile.

This is the earliest I've EVER seen geese heading north, and I'm 71 years old, been living here since 1976.

current mood: elated

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Sunday, January 22nd, 2017
7:44 pm - On Growing Up ∼ Howard Fast, The Immigrants
Either you get a chance to be a kid when you are a kid, or you don't grow up.
Howard Fast, The Immigrants

current mood: Wishing

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1:46 pm - Did It Again
Today I took my Saturday vitamines.  I'm not sure how I'm omitting that daily routine,  but if I can't end up on the right day of the week, I probably need to add the time I take the morning dose to the chart I record my daily weight on... (Scribbles note to self…)

current mood: shamed

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