Monday, February 29, 2016

A Long Leap

My Aunt Edrie was born on this date in 1916 and thus it is her 25th birthday.  She died in 1997 at  age 81.

Willamette Cemetery
Albany, Oregon
Mr. Jarvis passed September 2015 in Ocala, Florida.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Progress via PT

Progress:  an hour in physical therapy is a welcome relief from the tedium (how many episodes of "In the Heat of the Night" can one watch? nostalgic in so many ways:  "back then" it was the nonagenarian mother-in-law's favorite show) from the tedium, I say, of the daily routine.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Red Riding Hood and the Old Grey Wolf.

Pretty little girl, long dark hair, perhaps 27, appears at bedside, two a.m.  She had cared for me when I was on her wing.  She wore a red woolen winter coat and a grey scarf around her neck.

"Just got off shift and wanted to say 'Hi' before I go home."

"Hi.  Thanks.  I appreciate the visit."

"You are looking really good!"

And there it is.  I have grandchildren older than she; I am lying on my back staring up from the sheet tucked around my neck; just awake from three-hour sleep.

It must be the lighting, muted as it is filtering in from the open door.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Tiny Note and Update!

Progress:  an hour in physical therapy is a welcome relief from the tedium (how many episodes of "In the Heat of the Night" can one watch? nostalgic in so many ways:  "back then" it was the nonagenarian mother-in-law's favorite show) from the tedium, I say, of the daily routine.

Update:  Trip to surgical team in Indy.  Passed the one-month test with flying colors!  I may now lift up to 25 pounds, raise my arms above my head.  And I forgot to ask if I could resume my normal sleeping posture.  I have slept on my back for the past thirty-two days.  Anyway, other good news: I can drive provided I am not on any opioids.. (I haven't had one of those in two weeks!)  I am to be released from nursing home on schedule: February 25.  Now that is more than an update, it is progress.

Downside:  (Because I don't always see how full the glass really is) There are a couple of unintended consequences of the procedure, but they are being addressed and are a minor annoyance in the over-all scheme of things.  Care to be taken until the end of April, for it takes three months for complete healing to eventuate.

I am elated.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Greeting the New Day

 With feet entangled, pressing the foot-board,  cramped back, buttocks sore, we greet the new day two hours after the last time we lay awake.  It is now four o'clock, yet darker than it was wen I got into bed.

Twist and grope for call-light button.  It is always there, yet never quite where it was before.  Found.  Pushed.  And some time later, tap-tap on the door.

"I want out of bed."

Cheery little girl who a year ago was looking forward to the Senior Prom untangles my feet, twists legs to hang over the edge of the bed.  Drains bag, washes hands, watches solicitously as I stand and move feet carefully until backs of the legs touch recliner's front. I Sit.  She tucks my feet, makes up the bed, makes sure the call button is at my hand.

And I am alone.  Three hours until breakfast which will be long after the buttocks hurt from sitting and three hours until dawn's early light.

This is the first of the pieces I wrote in my notebook.  This morning the handwriting seems, though my own, almost illegible.  Time has passed, sometimes tediously, and I am much better. Two days later the hideous recliner was replaced by a new one!  Much  better.  Now on Friday (2/19) the PT released me to move about my room and to roam the halls without supervision!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Heart. Heart, heart.

Sometime during my stay in recovery following the open-heart surgery, I was given a red pillow, a red heart=shaped pillow embossed with a graphic of a real heart, veins, valves and all, on one side and the "IU Health" logo and "Methodist Hospital" on the other.  This, I was told, could be clutched to my chest to ease pain particularly when coughing or when attempting any sort of motion.

I soon found I was pleased, nay thrilled, to have the thing.

Nine years ago at the age of 44 Delbert, the elder of my sons had a heart attack culminating in a quintuple by-pass open-heart surgery.  He visited me in hospital while I was still in ICU.  Noting my pillow, he told me, "That will become your best friend."

He was right.  Today marks one month since the surgery and I have slept with that pillow clutched to my chest every night in the interim.  It got a "break" from cuddling me but once and that about three in the morning a couple weeks ago when I inadvertently knocked it to the floor.  I could not get up to retrieve it and I was uncomfortable with the idea of pushing the call-button to ask for someone to pick up a pillow.  So I bemoaned its absence for about two hours.  Help arrived, and I have cherished Pillow carefully since then.

Then.  Then after I was discharged from hospital and sent to rehab I received a call from my younger son, Ken, who told me that while I was in hospital he had had a heart attack at work, was helicoptered from the remote site of the occurrence to Lexington where the cardiologists were able to work their magic via placement of stents in his heart.  He had advised my spouse, my sister and his siblings but inveigled them to vow that they should not tell me, because he did not want me to worry about it while I was in my circumstances.  He called and told me after I was in the nursing home, and his co-conspirators had kept their word.  Kenneth was on his feet and back to work in a matter of days.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

On the Other Side of the Door

Image result for nursing home
You have driven or walked past a nursing home on occasion, perhaps frequently.  There may be such a facility that you pass every day of your life.  Perhaps it is a rare moment in which you even give it a thought.

 Or perhaps you have visited a nursing home to see a parent, or grandparent, or a dear friend who resides there.  If this is the case, as it is for me, then you have a somewhat better notion of life as it is lived by a resident there.  But even so, you leave after a period of time, after the visit is over.  

Yes, you have seen those who sit immobile in their wheelchairs, whose only greeting when you speak is a vacant look, a look that possibly is so long that it sees not you but that child who was a playmate seven or eight decades ago, or one whom that person loved and lost in her youth.

You have possibly experienced the atmosphere, the literal air in the building, scented as it is with the cleaning solutions, the bleach that in spite of the honest efforts of staff fails to mask the underlying aroma of humankind.  On a good day perhaps the smell of the overcooked Brussels sprouts permeating everything and semi-successfully masking that which the scouring and scrubbing cannot.

I have experienced both the casual passing-by of these institutions and the visiting within them, for I have had dear ones both family and friends who have spent long days, some have spent long years, within those walls.  I have family members and friends who have been and who are employed in the care of the patients within those walls.  But until this month I have never been an inmate, or a resident if you will, in a nursing home.

This, then, if things go as planned, will be a peek at life on the other side of the door.

The above is the preface to my personal nursing home experiences which I lost while trying to post with a "smart" phone.  I got my computer back and was finally able to locate the text, so as a Sunday break from the routine, these were my thoughts a month before my residency here.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weaknesses."  II Cor. 12:9

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Today's Chuckle

The chuckle.
Joe and I are sitting at adjoining tables, back to back.

Joe:  (To his table mates)  "I am gonna live to be a hundred.  I still have lots of people to piss off."

Me:  *laughing out loud*

And not so funny, but a day-brightener.

Rocky tells us he is getting his scooter today, his face lit up like Christmas.  Boy and new Toy.

"So you'll soon be racing up and down the halls frightening all the old ladies."

Not really the case, for following a couple days of learning to drive his new vehicle he will disappear from these premises.  And good for him.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Random Conversation Sixteen

"When you are as old as I am, , ,", Rocky told me at breakfast.

I bet we are in the same decade," I replied.

"I am seventy-one," said Rocky.  "How old are you?"

"I am eighty-one.  If I were a year younger or you were a year older we would have been in the same decade."

(My daughter met Rocky later.  She told me Rocky looks older than I do.  Ivy is a sweetheart.)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

OT and PT

 A word of explanation: Before surgery I had written an introductory piece "On the other side of the door" in which I intended to relate my experiences in the nursing home.  I intended to post it after my arrival here.  Somehow, using BBBH's smartphone I was outsmarted by technology, limited eyesight, and thick fingers.  I totally lost the piece.  So I have been putting up short items on the phone and writing, writing in my notebook.  By "notebook" I mean the kind you had in grade school, completely retrotech.  Today I have my computer.  Connecting to the network here is problematic betimes, so this may not be a "regular feature."

OT and PT

 The ladies of the physical and occupational therapies are a bevy of beauties. No, really.  If we were speaking of the contestants of a beauty pageant we would likely refer to the participants as a bevy of beauties.  That tag is appropriate here as well,  None would qualify as either swimsuit model or fashion model.  But they are beautiful people who enjoy serving their clients.  While each one possesses her own personality they all have two characteristics in common.  They are genuinely pleasant and they are relentless.

I am tired now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


You are visiting the nursing home at breakfast time?  See the Old Guy in the  Grey sweatshirt there at the corner table with his face in his Cream o' Wheat bowl?

I am that guy.

Wake me and visit a bit.

Friday, February 12, 2016

S+three weeks.
Rehab going well.  Saw GP today.  Positive outcomes to date.

I m feeling much better. More active, pretty scar on chest.

Thank you, Blog Pals, for your prayers and kindnesses.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Baby steps.