Friday, June 24, 2016

Do not worry about me

 Just in case any of you were inclined to worry about me wasting away out of loneliness in this enforced period of staying at home, let me reassure you. I had an impromptu party today about lunchtime. Jordan and I were waiting for the PT guy from Home Health, but he was late. Jordan finally brought me tuna, cottage cheese, and wine. Kenneth, the PT, appeared when I was almost through. He was huge, kind, considerate, and reasonable—and he was down on the floor demonstrating some leg exercises I can do when my brother and sister-in-law walked in, bringing a knee scooter. They had timed their visit so that Kenneth could show me how to get on and off the scooter—it will take practice. So there we all were, plus Socorro, who cleans for me and was trying to deal with a balky toilet—she kept explaining she tried to turn the water off and it wouldn’t turn. Finally, as she left, she said, “I’m leaving. There are too many people here.” Kenneth and Jordan left, and it was down to John, Cindy, and me—when the Home Health supervising nurse appeared.

She was here to take my blood pressure and vital signs. I explained that Kenneth had just done that. No matter—she was going to do it again. Good in a way since the top line of my blood pressure went down 13 points.

Home Health is a wonderful service provided to eligible patients through Medicare. But they are—excuse me--in your face all the time. There is the aide who bathes me (sponge bath since I can’t step in the shower), occupational therapist, physical therapist, supervising nurse, and an LVN I haven’t met yet. The two therapists aren’t coming back for two months or until I can put weight on my bad foot, so that gives me a respite. I’m afraid I thought I was just going to lollygag and let it heal—but I’m beginning to see that recovery will require work from me. And effort—my brother constantly harps on non-weight-bearing, but I am being as good as I can.

Meantime the world scene continues to be of interest. I read that after Brexit Brits were frantically researching the EU—they didn’t know what they voted against, and some are having second thoughts. Had to laugh—Trump arrived in Scotland and congratulation the Scots on having rejected the EU—all well and good but they voted to stay in.

I’m not much on European economic situations, though I know Italy is always in trouble. And many are saying that Brexit bodes well for Trump but an article I read tonight says no. Britain had gone on a severe economy program, and Brits have been living with austerity. The article suggested it won’t happen here because President Obama restored the economy to a stable footing. Food for thought.

Tomorrow will bring another crisis, I’m sure, but so far we seem to have weathered them all. It’s an exciting spectator sport.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Keeping the country in turmoil

My two wine girls
The news out of D.C. had my head spinning all day. Last night and again today, I was among the many who said I’ve never been more proud to be a Democrat. The Democratic sit-in to push for votes on gun control was an amazing landmark in our nation’s history, akin to the Civil Rights movement and, fittingly, led by John Lewis, a hero of that movement. I was sorry to hear that they’d abandoned it today but I haven’t read enough to know why or the implications of that. But I applaud the men and women who took part in this historic event.

Paul Ryan needs to go. Obviously at a loss as to what to do, he took the easy way out and shut down the House two days before they should have gone on vacation. Poor guys—and ladies—they work so hard when they’re there—NOT. I think he’s over his head and a coward who won’t confront and deal with issues.

Meanwhile, SCOTUS delivered a deadlock decision on immigration reform, which is the same as a rejection. It has the same effect because it shuts down reform programs. I heard President Obama carefully explaining what would continue and what wouldn’t. He sounded a hopeful note: immigration reform will come, sooner or later.

This delay reflects back on a Republican-controlled Senate, and primarily on Mitch McConnell who refuses to allow a vote on the president’s Supreme Court nominee. They are not doing their duty as stated in the Constitution. If we had had the ninth justice, there would have been a decision, up or down. Nobody can ask for more.

The whole thing—the House and the Supreme Court—shows just how deep in trouble our country is. From my partisan point of view, I also see it as cementing the downfall of the Republican Party. Donald Trump couldn’t do it better. We should all rejoice, except for the uncertainty of what will happen next.

With all this on national news, I have found it comforting to be in my routine. Today someone from Recycled Books in Denton came to look through the remaining books we’ve pulled out—I kept relatively few from my large collection. He paid me nicely for some and took the others away to donate, which is fine with me. There were way too many for any of us to cart to the public library used book store. And tonight my house looks so much neater.

I owe a huge debt to Carol Roark who got all the book buyers in here and stood by to answer questions, pack books, do whatever was needed.

Jordan is here to spend the night, and we’ve been sociable—Chandry and Subie came for happy hour. I am always grateful for company to brighten my day, and this has been a good day. Except for our Federal government. I expect the President feels let down to night, though he never shows it publicly. Still, I think he looks tired these days, and it’s good that his term is coming to an end.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A fella's 10th birthday is a big deal

Jacob turned ten on Monday, appropriately feted with a kids party at Main Event on Saturday and a huge dinner party at Joe T.’s on his actual birthday. I could not go to Joe T.’s—we thought about it, decided it would be too much trouble to get me in and out, and I’d get too tired sitting in the heat for a couple of hours—makes me sound like a wimp, doesn’t it, but there were extenuating circumstances. After Joe T.’s a small group came back here and Jacob got his big present—an RC car.

There’s a whole RC world out there I didn’t know about, and cars are apparently a big deal. Marc, stepfather to Jacob’s good friend Hayes, is an RC hobbyist and will be giving Jacob lessons etc. He and Hayes painted a second shell for Jacob’s car in Baylor colors—Jacob’s favorite. My grandson was thrilled. RC technicalities, etc., were the talk of the evening; Amber, Hayes’ mother, said she can’t even park her car in the garage because the RC cars are on her spot.

It’s apparently an expensive hobby. Lewis, contractor for our renovation, told me his brother had RC planes and thousands of dollars invested. One day one of the planes just kept going, in spite of Jim’s frantic signals to it to come back.  Nobody ever saw it again, and Jim got out of that hobby soon after. I fear Jacob is on the road to an expensive hobby, with Marc and Hayes as co-conspirators.

Other news from the home front: Sophie got a haircut today, and I didn’t realize it was a new person. I told Jordan to tell her just the usual but this new lady didn’t know what the usual was. Result: too close on the head and face, so now she looks like a sad cocker spaniel instead of a perky bordoodle. So hard to get groomers to do the right cut on these dogs. But the saving grace is that it will grow out in a month.

And my woes continue: this morning one of my hearing aids simply refused to connect. I tried several batteries and nada. I can limp by with one but it’s awkward. These days I see the audiologist at TCU—and with school out, she’s on vacation until at least mid-August. Will ask Amy to take it back to the place where I bought it. I thought maybe it was still under warranty but I got them in 2011. Who can believe?

A very social day today. Kathie came for lunch, bringing pea soup (which she knows is my favorite), wonderful turkey, white cheddar, and Granny Smith sandwiches with honey mustard, and small berry cobblers. She stayed for a good long visit, and it brightened my day. Betty, who faithfully comes on Wednesdays, brought lasagna for supper, and we too had a good visit.

An occupational therapist came, put me through a series of easy physical tests and kept saying “Excellent!” I guess I passed because he isn’t coming back for two months. Home health is great, but they are in your face every day. I had to cancel an LVN for tomorrow because the used book salesman is coming. The nurse visits every week, so we have to squeeze her visit in tomorrow or Friday. Jordan worries about my not having social contacts—not true is home health has anything to say about it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

News from the home front

 If you heard a loud whoosh about 2:30 this afternoon, that was me letting out a long sigh of relief. I went to the trauma  reconstructive surgeon who said my ankle was beyond repair. There’s dead bone in there. No surgery. He will take the conservative approach and wait for it to heal which means keeping me off my foot for some time to come. I gather I may end up with a misshapen ankle or a limp or something less than ideal but my dancing days and days of vanity are long over and that doesn’t matter. I am relieved big time.

How did my ankle get in this shape without treatment? Probably the fact that I walked on it for two weeks, then walked on it in a boot for two more. My neuropathy became a big part of the discussion--it prevents me from feeling pain in my feet, and therefore pain doesn’t do its job of warning. Probably why today the foot doesn’t hurt.

We are looking into electric wheelchairs and knee scooters and the like. I suspect I’ll need the wheelchair and my walker occasionally if not always the rest of my life. That’s okay too.

This doctor comes highly recommended, and we—Jordan, my brother, and I—all liked him immensely. He’s calm, slightly funny, gives you a feeling that he’s very capable. Explained things fully and carefully. I go back in two weeks for new x-rays. Meantime the burden is on me to protect the ankle, not put weight on it, etc. At this point I could do further damage.

My brother watched me go from car to steps to wheelchair and was quite critical of the fact that I was weight-bearing even though I barely did a hop on the bad foot. There was no way around that little strip, although we’re working on ramps, etc. Meantime John further put the fear of the Lord in me. Actually I feel God has been good to me tonight—I talked to him this morning and said it was my turn for some good news. He listened.

The alternative is major surgery which I wouldn’t have wanted at any age but I sure don’t want at my age.  Plates and screws won’t do it—plates slip. He said they’d probably put a rod up through my heel. No thanks.

So on to bigger things. I guess I’ve lost my excuse for not getting serious about a new project. I have one loose end to wrap up and then I must begin to think ahead. At least the work that I love is something I can do while staying off my feet.

Jordan is staying tonight because we were fairly convinced I would be facing surgery and be a quivering mass of Jello. So now she says, “What are we going to do the rest of the evening.” She’s cooking bacon and eggs, and it smells delicious. Excuse me while I head for the kitchen, having told you all more than you ever wanted to know about ankles and surgeons.


Monday, June 20, 2016

The Perils of Isolation

A friend came to visit today, bringing a delicious zucchini muffin and some goodies, plus her pleasant company. But she’s soft-spoken, and I kept asking her to repeat or speak up. Finally she whirled on me and said, “Did you know that if you don’t wear your hearing aids,  you run a greater chance of dementia?” I went and put my hearing aids in. I know that if you take them in and out it’s hard for the brain to adjust, but dementia? I chewed on that all afternoon and decided that it’s because –and a if you don’t wear them, you can’t hear and are therefore isolated from what’s going on around you. You have no stimulation—and a brain without stimulations atrophies.

Being housebound as I am for now, I don’t have much stimulation from the outside world, except the newspaper, TV, and Facebook. Sometimes it’s hard for me to blog about much except what goes on in my own life—and that can make for fairly dull reading. “And then I did this….and then I did that.”

But I am fortunate that I have visitors—today there was that morning visit from a friend; the woman who has cut my hair for probably the last 15 years and of whom I’m very fond, made a house call to give me a much-needed haircut. And another friend brought me chicken soup for supper and stayed to visit over a glass of wine. I am beyond grateful for these visits. Now I’m waiting for Jordan, Jacob and Christian to arrive—it’s Jacob’s 10th birthday and they’ve been to Joe T.’s for a festive dinner but stopping here on the way home because I still have the birthday present. I was sad not to be at the dinner, but it would have been hard to get me in and out of the car and restaurant, and if I sat outside for almost three hours I’d have been really weary.

Tomorrow I see the trauma reconstructive orthopedic surgeon, one who specializes in ankles. Jordan, John and Cindy will go with me. To say I’m apprehensive, would be to understate the case. But I will keep you all posted. And would appreciate a word or two of prayer.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lovely weekend--and a rant

Potatoes with dirt clinging to them became wonderful mashed potatoes
Jordan is magic
Plenty of company this weekend, which delights me. Jordan, Christian, and Jacob were here for Friday night supper. Jordan has taken to setting a proper table--another thing that delights me. We had mashed potatoes—from my neighbor’s garden—and chicken sausage with a green salad. Saturday Sue and Teddy brought sandwiches and stayed for lunch and a visit—I so appreciate them. Sat.. night after Jacob’s birthday party at Main Event, Jordan, Christian and SuperDave were here for supper---chicken fingers and potato salad. We sat and talked so late that I didn’t get a blog done. When you’re a prisoner in your own house, you really don’t have that much to say anyway. Tonight Jordan is coming for supper while Christian works on their yard. He’s put so much effort into restoring where the foundation work destroyed. And tomorrow we’re back in the regular week.

Big on my mind is my appointment with the trauma reconstructive surgeon on Tuesday—I fully expect him to say surgery and soon, with screws and plates. Really really dread this but you do what you have to do. And I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair or scooting backwards on a walker. Last night I happened to read a warning label on the walker that says, “Do not move Rollaater while seated,” which of course is exactly what I’ve been doing. I tell myself that’s for the elderly who might fall out of it. I’m actually getting pretty good at maneuvering the thing.

I do have something to say tonight, in spite of my housebound status. I am out of patience with people who post on Facebook that Obama is a sleeper for Isis, he is a Muslim, and his sole goal is to destroy the USA. His record certainly indicates that he wants destruction—NOT. I feel sorry for these people. They must live with blind hate and prejudice. One even asked of we could do a citizens’ arrest. Good luck with that.

President Obama receives many more accolades that he does accusations. I have seen the idea floated that he will go down in history as one of our great presidents, and I’m all for it. I’m not good at listing accomplishments, but I do know that the country and individuals are in much better shape than when he took office almost eight years ago. And more secure. If he wanted to destroy us, he certainly waited until the eleventh hour. I refer you to this web site:

He is also one of the most sincere, genuine people I’ve had the privilege to observe. Look at the pictures of him with young kids. Does that look like a sleeper for Isis.

My opinion is that he and his family are a class act, a role model for families, and we are blessed to have him for a leader. Give up the hate, those of you who harbor it, and ask what you can do for our country as we move into a new administration.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Of dogs and cats

As pet owners, we seem increasingly interested in crossing breeds. I’m sure the American Kennel Association, staunch guardians of the purebred in dogs, is wringing its collective hands. But crosses between poodles and several other breeds have become common. The AKA not recognize them, but I keep waiting for a doodle association to form. The labradoodle is the original cross-bred, developed for its hypoallergenic qualities. It seems after those first few labradoodles, the cross-breeding craze took off.

When I was last in the dog market, some five years ago, I wanted a Labradoodle, but my doctor/brother pointed out that with my age (70s) and my unsure footing, I had no business getting an 80-100 lb. dog. Of course he was right, and I reluctantly gave up that dream, even though I’ve had big dogs all my life. My Sophie, now five, is a bordoodle, a cross between a border collie and a miniature poodle. I’ve never had a poodle, so I don’t know what characteristics she exhibits but I know she has traits of the border collie. She is loyal to a fault, wildly energetic—sometimes taking it out in just running circles in the backyard. Unlike border collies, she is not averse to human companionship—she is my shadow, staying by me all day, following me from room to room. But like her lineage, she is not particularly a cuddly dog—a couple of minutes, and she’s off to something else, though she will sleep at the foot of my bed. She has her favorite people and goes bananas when some of them come around. Sweet, loveable but also known to growl if you take something out of her mouth. A truly great dog.

Tonight I have come upon cross-bred cats. I’m not a cat person—I had one part Maine Coon that was the sweetest animal alive—but other than that I suffered through the cats of my children’s youth. Tonight, reading a mystery proposal about a missing Savannah, I was intrigued by the statement that Savannahs are illegal in some part of this country because, a cross between a domestic cat and an African wild serval cat, they are considered wild animals. Of course I had to look them up online. A relatively new breed, Savannahs have been recognized by the American Cat Association which has a standard for their appearance, behavior, etc. Wonder what that says about the differences between dog and cat people?

Savannahs must be spotted, sort of cheetah-like, for competition. All other colors are sold as pets. They have long, skinny bodies, with long legs betraying their wild ancestry, and long pointed ears. They are friendly, loyal, and curious—easily learning to open doors and cabinets (watch out, owners!). Some can jump eight feet from a sitting position.

Yes, they sound intriguing, almost making me wish I were a cat person. But I believe if I got a second pet, it would be another doodle dog. Then again, I’m not sure Sophie would welcome an intruder into the territory and extended family she has carved out for herself.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bad news/good news

Flowers from Amye Cole
It is not encouraging when the orthopedic surgeon meets you in the hall and says, “It all fell apart,” meaning my ankle by it. Then, in the examining room, he kept repeating, “It’s a mess. It’s really a mess” and shaking his head. I had suggested to the Lord this morning that it was my turn to get some good news but apparently he didn’t hear me. The bones, which were aligned three weeks ago, have shifted and stress fractures have added to the problem. Not what I wanted to hear.

So next Tuesday I have an appointment with a trauma orthopedic surgeon who specializes in ankles. Apparently I’m looking at surgery with screws and plates—not at all a pleasant prospect, but the surgeon said I’ll never walk again without it. The office manager said it’s a two-to-three-hour surgery but this guy is a wizard.

I view it as bad news but Jordan said she’s encouraged because it’s a pathway to healing, and I will admit I’m not making progress as it is. So I guess the sooner the better. All summer plans are on hold, which is okay. Except for a trip to Tomball, I didn’t have any big summer plans and my writing isn’t at a critical stage—would that I were in the midst of a manuscript I needed to plow ahead on. I realize that she’s right but the prospect of surgery, feeling yucky, and 10-12 weeks recovery doesn’t please me. Then again, I’ve already put in five weeks on this ankle, and it’s not any better. We see the new surgeon Tuesday.

Tonight Jordan fixed me a cheering meal—salad, tortellini with olive oil, and, of course, wine. She set the table for a formal dinner for two, and we had a good time, though my appetite has once again left me.

Kind friends have brought gifts. Here is the doll/bell that Mary Helen Cornelius brought—she said it’s my best friend. I can sit and ring for help. We need to name her, but I’m not sure what. Jordan says in trying to take care of all things—alarm system, home health, all that—she has run into a lot of Judys and Julies. So maybe that’s the name.

And a basket of potatoes from my neighbor, who has a bumper crop and a lush garden. For years I had a series of unsatisfactory neighbors in that house—I hasten to add after Sue and her children left—so Jim’s presence is a real gift. He helped Jordan get me up the steps from the drive to the porch when we came home.


And I am blessed with gifts and friends and neighbors who really care.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Blessing of Friends

Jacob in the wheelchair a friend brought today
News on the health front is encouraging tonight. This morning I had a thorough sponge bath from a private duty care nurse. Do you know how luxurious it is to sit there, hold out your warm, and essentially say, “Here, wish it.” The nurse had recently broken her foot and had a three-month experience in a boot, so she knew where I was and what I was feeling. And I felt so good after my bath.

Jordan’s news was that tomorrow at 2:15 I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon—something I’ve been waiting for so we can find out what’s next, what’s the treatment, how long is recovery, all those good things. And she found a home health care service that takes my insurance. A lesson I’ve learned: private duty care people are not necessarily highly trained, and their services are not paid for by Medicare; home health care provides professionals, and Medicare pays the bill. I’m particularly pleased about this their services include a physical therapist when the doctor gives his okay. They also clean your house, do your laundry, really whatever you need. Five weeks after my colossal fall, we may be headed in the right direction.

Today was a lovely day and is perhaps the first day I don’t feel like rushing back to my bed. Friends have really rallied to my side—Linda, who I’ve known for over thirty years, brought lunch—delicious tuna salad. She assembled the sandwiches fresh in my kitchen, so they weren’t soggy or anything. And we had a great visit. Tonight, Amye, a friend of Jordan’s that I’m known for a long time, came for happy hour and brought lovely flowers, and Betty, my longtime dining pal, brought homemade cheeseburgers and fruit.
Efficient supper
Saturday friends Sue and Teddy are bringing lunch, and Monday Sue is bringing supper—it’s Jacob’s birthday and everyone will be off to Joe T.’s to celebrate. I’m sad that I can’t go.

I think Jordan is arranging for someone to come visit every day, and I’m most grateful to her. But I’m also most grateful for the friends who care enough to visit and drink wine and chat and distract me. Some come expecting me to be transformed into a little old bent-over lady and are pleasantly surprised. I am who I’ve always been, and my ankle doesn’t hurt more because of the diagnosis  Monday. Yes, my disposition and outlook took a hit, but they’re back to normal, and I’m as happy a camper as I can be in these circumstances.

If I were isolated here in my house, I’d be really miserable. And without Jordan, I don’t think I’d have made it. The Lord is good to me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Flag Day--and a flurry of construction

Wallpaper discovered on a piece of wall in the existing cottage
Sort of charming, don't you think
In these troubled times in our nation, it’s comforting to see the flag waving today on a pole by my driveway. Fort Worth’s Rotary South puts these flags out on holidays—you have to subscribe to the program as lots of people do in my neighborhood. It’s nice to see a street of flags.

That said, a pickup belonging to one of the workers almost took my flag out today. I watched, holding my breath, as it came inches from the flag when the driver was trying to back into the driveway. There were hundreds—okay, maybe ten—trucks here today as workers got busy on the cottage. They’re making great progress, although I know the slow work comes later. But still I’m encouraged.

I’m also jealous. I’m forbidden to go out there—pratfalls and cords wait to trip me, and of course I can’t walk so it’s a moot issue. We talked today about a ramp to get me in and out of house and car for doctor’s appointments, but we cannot legally do it—if they put a ramp at the legal angle by the side steps of my porch, it would end in the middle of my bedroom. We are talking about a “just in case” ramp from the cottage to the back door, but that’s in the future. I’m hoping by the time I can move into the apartment, I can also use a walker.

Meantime, we spent the day waiting for calls about home health care, an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon, and a wheelchair. A rental chair is to be delivered tomorrow, but it turns out that friends Subie and Phil have a wheelchair in their attic. So either way, I’ll get one tomorrow. Not sure it will be any easier to get in and out of than the walker, but at least a wheelchair goes forward and is more comfortable. We’ll see how it works.

My big goof of the day: we were waiting to hear from a home health care service. They didn’t call, but in early afternoon my doctor’s office called to ask, “Did you refuse home health care?” I did not, would not, but I got to thinking. I had a call that I thought offered me HVAC service, and I assured them we were remodeling and that was all in place. Suppose how crazy that sounded if, as I suspect, it was a call about home health care. Jordan was most disappointed, but it didn’t matter—the company called back to say they don’t take my insurance. So another thing to worry about.

another day in what I suspect will be a long string of long days. I’m not sure why but I am so sleep early in the evening. Perhaps it’s a reaction to the long days. Anyway, good night al.