Friday, November 2, 2007


I guess this is the only way dogs get obituaries. Our paper is so full of ones about people, there's not much room for news. Most of them are boring, but at my age, it's a good idea to check them out.
Well, Cappy napped out a couple of days ago. He was 14, more or less, and was the happiest dog we ever had. He was so friendly to man and beast, June said he could have been an insurance salesman. She found him rummaging for garbage and wandering the streets of downtown Tampa when he was a youngster. She brought him home, so dirty and encrusted with sandspurs he had to be shaved to get a bath. That was OK with him, but so were meals, shots, car rides, the vet's office, sleeping on the sofa, escaping, it was all good. He particularly liked soft leather such as boot tongues, topsider laces, and suspender loops. Paper products were good, including library books and money. He once ate, and returned, $21.00 in small bills, which I soaked, dried, taped together and redeemed at the bank.
He started slowing down a couple of weeks ago, and Anita and Buddy and I just slowed down our morning walk a bit. One day he quit eating, the next day he quit drinking, and then he lay down on the warm bricks of the patio and quit breathing. Buddy sat with him until the end, and when I saw him walking around him in circles, I took his blanket out and wrapped him up and it was over. Cappy, you will never be replaced. We miss you.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It's hot

Yes, it's hot again, like August in Florida. It happens every year, and every year we're surprised. I'm walking the dogs with Anita every morning, all around the little pond. It's a little less than half a mile, but we're drenched when we get back around 8:00 AM. The dogs are in their little fur coats and their tongues are dragging. Buddy is missing the scooter ride he used to get when I wasn't up to walking yet. Blind as a bat, but he could hop in board and sit between my feet. He would stick his head out when one of his friends came in range, to get a good sniff. He also enjoyed the envy of his friends who had no chauffeur.

The birds and otters are amazing. This morning we noticed about 20 mallards, one muscovy, and a few ibis lined up on the bank, watching the water. There were two or three otters, putting on a show, fishing for breakfast. We haven't seen as many this year as last, when we watched six or eight babies grow up, belonging to two or three families. We have been joined by a roseate spoonbill this year. We've seen them occasionally in the past, but this one is there every day now, eating non-stop. His name is Pinky.

I'm enjoying playing the dulcimer and guitar again. For some reason, the six months of mending didn't make me want to play. Even though I had plenty of time, it seemed like work. I was pretty weak, and that's my excuse. I'm really glad to be past that, and I retired the cane August 6th, six months after surgery. Some of the tunes rattling around in my head need to be put on paper. I just finished putting a lullaby on Tabledit, the music writing program. It was one my Daddy used to sing to me, and I found the words he had printed out on hotel stationery, from Macon, Georgia. He must have gotten lonely on a trip. The music came back when I read the words. If I can figure out how, I'll post it.

Friday, June 15, 2007

exercise is a pain

I finally gained enough strength, according to the doctor, to begin physical therapy. Easy for him to say. My first session on Tuesday was to measure how well I could do certain simple things, like raise my foot off the mat, while lying on my back, then sides, then front. The therapist wrote down that I had worked up to zero. Then he told me to do 2 sets of 20 anyway. That gives me lots of room for improvement. I have eight others, such as hold a ball between your knees, ride a bike, push down with my knee, that I can do. I'm supposed to do these two or three times a day at home. I can't do the bike because I gave mine away when it got too boring.

Medicare will pay for 20 sessions at the clinic. At twice a week, that takes me through August. I am very glad I didn't know in January that I'd still be learning to walk in August. In general, we don't want to see the future, no matter what we say.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Music for mending?

I had looked forward to making music to mend by, filling these long days of enforced idleness. For some reason, it's unsatisfactory, and after tuning the dulcimer and the guitar all I do is plunk around a little bit. I usually sing along with the tunes that have words, La-la-la with those without. I was even writing a few songs, saving them on Tabledit to share. I don't think I'm depressed, because I am enjoying everyday things. I get out on our little scooter and feed grain to the baby ducks down the street, I sit out in the garden and watch the birds and butterflies, I really enjoy a bowl of ice cream in the afternoon. Maybe the music will return. Hope so.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Turtle is home

I made it home yesterday with my newest hip and patched up thigh, and I am enjoying being waited on by family instead of nurses. I appreciate the hard work the nurses do, bless their hearts, but home is where we live as a loved one, not a patient.

It occurred to me, after several weeks of lying on my back, unable to sit up, get up, or even roll over without help, that I was living like a turtle who got caught on its back, waving its little paws about. I could push some buttons on the bed, on the remote, and the "Call Nurse," my favorite, but still was very helpless. The message I kept hearing was loud and clear. It said "You are not in charge here." I never really thought I was, but all doubts have been removed.

I'm also realizing why we had three children. They have been super about stepping in and taking over this house, keeping their dad and now, me, fed and clean. June and Kevin took the first lap, Doug came in for a week, and wee currently have Jason and my sister Susan here, and they will do a handoff to our daughter-in-law Lazara next week. Besides us, they have helped our friend Anita walk the dogs every morning, and take turns giving one of them insulin shots twice week. Now I am giving myself shots twice a day to fight blood clots. Jason said he would do it if I would just bend over my food bowl like Buddy does.

In the spirit of the Easter Bunny, I am hopping around the house on the walker, dangling my left leg in the air. I am so happy to be hopping!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Rehab, the Sequel

Another Guest Post.

Mom has moved to rehab! Yay! Out of the hospital in only 4 days this time. Into another hospital, but in the rehab unit. Much better than the nursing home route we did last time, we think.

When she arrived today, the nurse came in and said "Oh! Does your complexion always look like . . . that?" Mom, who hasn't seen a mirror in a week, said "What? What does it look like? Is something wrong?" The nurse just said "Well, you're very pale". Mom said, yes, she was pale, but hopefully, the extra blood and iron they are pumping in will help that. That, and being able to run around a bit.

I'm shipping off on Monday, as my vacation time has well and truly run out. My little brother Jason has come to stay at the ranch for a couple of weeks, and although we hope we won't need them, we've got a couple other relations lined up after that if need be. So, watch this space, and hopefully, the next post you see will contain news of Carol coming home. Again. Many thanks for everyone's continued support.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Surgery II

Another Guest Post

Surgery went well (again). We are planning on the quick and easy no complications version this time, as we have tried the other way, and didn't care for it much. Thanks for everyone's prayers and good wishes - so far this time, they seem to be working. More news as it happens - with any luck, from the lady herself.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Groundhog day

Yes, it is possible to break your leg while standing up on your walker. Tuesday, March 20, I go back to the hospital so they can remove my gently used hip and replace it with a newer model.
I have been unable to come up with any good reason for this (for every thing there is a reason, turn turn) and hope you will help me out here. Some of the suggestions so far:

The surgeon really likes you and doesn't want to say goodbye.

It gets all your kids to come for a visit.

It could have been the good leg.

You're using up hell-points.

Better now than six months from now.

You're really good on a walker.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Sex change

No, I didn't go for that while I was in the hospital. However, I need to rant.

For those of you out of our news area, the facts. The City Manager of one of our small towns had been considering a sex-change for many years, going from Steve to Susan, and had already taken some preliminary steps. He mentioned this to a few close friends, and the mayor, but had not yet told his wife or 13-year old son. Surprise, surprise, the paper got wind of it and the cat was out of the bag. Within a week the city called a special meeting and fired him. Even though he had received rave reviews for 14 years, they insist the firing was not because of the sex change, but was a "loss of confidence." He was shocked and amazed.

This raises so many questions:

1) Did he think his secret would stay a secret?

2) Didn't he know his small-town voters and officials, after 14 years?

3) Wouldn't wife and sons be the first to know?

Takes me back to a time almost 40 years ago when CJ was representing a lesbian couple who were house painters. We hired them to paint our house. It took forever. During this time, one of them confided that she was in the process of becoming a man. (They had 9 children between them already.) We needed some carpentry, they called a friend who was going from male to female. We needed roof repairs, two friends showed up that were also changing. At one time, we had 7 workers, in all stages of their transition, part of a support group. They enjoyed telling us more than we needed to know of their life stories and medical procedures. They seemed well-adjusted, optimistic, and looked forward to being "normal." I hope things worked out for them. I would think that 40 years might have brought a little more understanding, but apparently not.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

new hip

Two weeks in the hospital and another two in rehab was like a trip to a
distant planet. It wasn't truly a nursing home, because most of the inmates
were there for therapy following a fall or surgery or both, but they still
made me think of Tim Conway. We had rules, and schedules, and two hours of
therapy morning and afternoon, and if you didn't clean your plate you had to
answer to Nurse Ratchid. Many of the patients and all of the doors had
alarms, which went off constantly. These were not little bells, but more
like smoke detectors. The nurses would have to shout up and down the halls
to be heard. I'm used to being bathed and pottied by nurses of either
gender, (or neither, I suspected.) My roommate accused me of stealing her
teeth. These are just a few of the reasons why I'm SO HAPPY to be home with
my family. I'm on a walker, which our blind dog thinks is like chairs gone
wild. We're having beautiful weather, and I'm going to spend as much time as
possible out in it. But first, lunch. I'm craving crunchy food!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Move to Rehab

Yes, it's another guest post.

Mom has finally moved from the hospital to a rehab facility, which is good news indeed. Workouts commence in the morning, and she'll probably be at the facility for another week or ten days before she gets to come home. She'll still have therapists coming by the house for a while after that. She was bright and chipper and ready for the move when we saw her today, and although I think the move itself wore her out a little, I'm sure she'll be ready to slay dragons by the morning. I'll be around for another couple of weeks, and Dad and I are doing fine. Thanks to everyone who has called with support, we appreciate everyone's good thoughts and prayers.

(the Daughter)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Day after Surgery (Guest Post)

Carol had her surgery Tuesday morning. She had to be there at 5:30am so the 4am alarm was a little jarring. She finished surgery about 11am and began recovery. We were told we should wait 'till sometime after 4pm for the first visit as she'd be pretty out of it. She was in fact a little out of it, but a morphine drip will do that to you.

Surgery went well and the doctor said everything was fine, although her first words to us were, "I think I got hit by a truck." We visited again today (Wednesday) and she was looking much better. She had her first "chair" excercise this morning where she had to transfer herself from the bed to the chair and back with the help of her walker. She said after a successfull completion, she promptly napped for an hour as it was the hardest thing she'd done in many a year.

At this time, we expect her to be transferred to the Rehab facility possibly Friday or Saturday of this week. We'll post more as we learn.

She says Hi to all and thanks you for your prayers and support.

Kevin (The son-in-law)

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Making lists

I'm going to be indisposed for a couple of weeks, so it seemed like a good idea to make lists to help friends and family who will be filling in to run this place. Try making a list of what you do every day, then weekly, then "as needed." You might be surprised. It's kind of like making a list of everything you eat, which is how you start any diet. You also must have answered those questionnaires about how much you exercise. We cheat on those, don't we?

It's not nice to cheat on this list I'm talking about. Somebody's got to give an insulin shot to the blind diabetic dog, not the other one or the husband. You have to include instructions for the microwave, the laundry, the phone answerer. Everybody must have one of these: "If the nightlight is off in the bathroom and the one in the kitchen and the light on the toothbrush charger, it means the sprinkler system is off as well. Go in the garage, reach behind the big fat plug under the sprinkler timer and push the square button with something small and non-metallic." Let me hear about yours.