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Rising from the Ashes.

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Well, the dust has settled, now to pick up the pieces and rebuild.  Life goes on, and so must I. Fatigue follows me everywhere. Caffeine no longer works its magic. Opiates only make it worse.  The Dilauded® goes into the back of the cabinet.  I’ve struggled out of depression before, and I think I can do it again.

But still, there is the sipping coffee and the chatting with Snookums in the morning that makes the day good enough.   

I see few silver linings in the news.  Things will get much worse.  Prepare for life in a dystopian paradise.  In that respect, I am glad that I will have gone into that long goodnight before it does.  I just want to remain alert and strong up to the day the LORD calls Snookums home, then I shan’t care what else happens.

But I have warm shelter.  I have a surplus of food.  I have caregivers.  I have pets.  I have Snookums.  It is indeed sufficient for the day.

I hope to return to blogging now.  I have nothing but time on my hands.  I can now be a watchman on the tower.  Perhaps I’ll write about such things.  Then, again.  There is the quiet mornings with only  the thumps, obscure voices of the residents and occasional warnings from the dogs that something is amiss in the neighborhood.  Maybe I’ll just write of those.  Who knows? 

I feel changed, somehow.  Maybe what rolls off my fingers will reflect that change.  I am in stasis with the universe.  I float.  I am a leaf blown in the winds. There is no up and down as I drift.

But there is still you, and that makes the difference.

Good morning!

Misery arrives

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Well, I received my visit from Oizys, the goddess of misery this week.  Not that I wasn’t expecting her.  This is a time of trudging, and I arise several times a day, do something, and quickly retire.  I put up a pretty good fight this time, but now I am just out of ammo, and I must step back into the refuge of He-Who-Protects and hides me from the evil of lesser gods.  I am tired and discouraged.

I know many of you have words of kindness, but I am in no place to receive consolation, but I am not without hope.  For good or for evil, I will emerge from this, but it is my cup, and I must walk it. 

Petitions for strength and a sound mind are welcomed, however.

I don’t think I will be writing or socializing much through this time.  It is what it is, to cite another worn out saw.

👀Seeking the right thing 👀

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I am searching for a bit of clarity here: 👀

Bidens lawyers are casually strolling around Joe’s garage sipping Old Fashions and looking at Joe’s Corvette, and accidentally stumble across moldy pile of cardboard boxes that are full of classified materials inside that they didn’t see because they were classified, inform Joe that he needs to do the right thing with those unseen documents in cardboard boxes

Joe says he’ll need to look at those documents to determine what the right thing to do is but his lawyers tell him that looking at the unseen documents would not be the right thing to do. So Joe asks his lawyers to do the right thing with the documents because Joe believes in the right thing, and of course, lawyers know what the right thing to do with boxes of unseen documents inside is, and call the agency that originally determined the documents were piled behind the Corvette Joe’s garage were the right thing at that time, but aren’t the right thing now.

The lawyers agree to deliver the documents no one has seen since they were not authorized to see them, to the agency of right things to do. They then informed the reporters of right things that they did the right thing right thing, and the agency of right things to do lauds the lawyers on doing the right thing … and the American press lauds the President who loves to do the right thing, the agency of right things to do, and the lawyers on doing the right thing to do.

I feel like I am missing something. I hope I am doing the right thing by even asking what the right thing is ..

Another Update

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Well, I am now walking over another bridge I was going to wait to cross until I came to it.  I am officially on palliative care now.  Drugs and happy pills are ordered, but I can take them or not, and I am still being actively treated for heart, kidney and lung damage, so it isn’t like giving up entirely.

Or so I optimistically try to believe.

We are all born, we breed, we die … that is the world we inherited from our ancestor Adam.  So I approach my octogenarian-hood this month greatly conflicted.

“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish adage meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.”  It was my plan to go before Snookums.  I was ready.  But since the stroke happened, she needs me here, and so I now ask God for more time.  I don’t want her burdened with that responsibility.

Snooks has probably reached the plateau of her recovery, and any further healing will be in micro-millimeters and not miles.  Her short-term memory has not improved much, and fatigue and stress only make it worse.  Yesterday I awoke and saw the bathroom light was on, which isn’t unusual.  She generally awakens a few minutes before I do.  But she was in there a long time and I saw her go in and leave several times. That should have been my first clue, but I wasn’t totally awake yet.

The toilet had overflowed, and she was trying to handle the mess. The harder she tried, the more ineffective she became.  I finally realized she was over stressed and sprang out of bed and took care of the stoppage while she cleaned up the flooding.  She then took a nap.

If you know Snooks, you know she isn’t a napper.  It was serious stuff happening.  But finally, the mess was taken care of, and we had our morning coffee and cake.  I noticed her right eye was sagging and asked my niece to keep an eye on her while I went to the palliative care interview.  She did take another nap and skipped lunch, even after my niece offered to fix a sandwich.  Today, that eye is still drooping, and she is still a bit pallid.  I am hoping that a day of rest will get her back in condition.

I really need to become more proactive …

So the new day dawns.  No crises, just a weak January sun peeking through the blinds.  I sip my coffee, chat with Snookums, check my emails on the Chromebook, medicate myself, and ponder this new change in life.  I am ready for a new adventure, to quote Bilbo Baggins …

More about the big I …

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Sunday dawned overcast and cool today and I stumbled into the kitchen to start the coffee maker,  then weigh myself, took my blood pressure, sugar, temperature, pulse and oxygen.  Stuck myself with an insulin needle, filled my coffee cup and ate a healthy cardboard cookie made for diabetics, then went into the studio to check the day.

But Snookums quickly poked her head into the doorway and announced that she was up, and I could have coffee with her if I wanted.  Translated, that means get your butt in here and spend some time with me.  So, I dutifully padded back to the kitchen table for conversation and took her vitals while we were conversing.

I have been remiss in that, but it is a very necessary morning ritual for us. And this morning I let us run out of coffee cake.  That is near the unforgivable sin in this household.  So sometime today I have to run into town and pick up a couple of them from the bakery.

However, a new medical service from my health insurance wants to stop by and examine the two of us.  I am not sure who they are, but like another service provided to me, it sounds like anything but health care.  They don’t dress wounds, they don’t change catheters, they don’t do blood draws.  But they come by every four months and take our vitals, apparently. 

I am already enrolled in another health care service that pretty much does the same thing, but if I am running a fever, apparently, they will come by and take my vitals.  Or I can make an appointment at the clinic and see a real doctor.  I am not averse to nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants, and sometimes actually prefer them.  But I don’t need my vitals taken four times a year by them.

Snookums is still making progress, but it is by millimeters instead of yards now.  I try not to be impatient with her, but sometimes it slips out of me, and I’ll speak sharply to her.  All my anger does is confuse her and I really need to stop doing that.

And now the cardiologists are suggesting a heart pump sometime after January.  He says it will really help with the reduced pumping capacity of my heart.  I am mixed about this, and if Snookums hadn’t had a stroke, I would have just said enough.  But now I need to be around for a bit longer because … well … I need to be around.  When I meet again later this month with him, I think I’ll tell him to start the process. It isn’t as invasive as open-heart surgery, apparently they do it with through a small incision, and the recovery doesn’t require a hospital stay.

… and one day follows another in my little corner of paradise.

Good morning!

Shabbat, Bill Collectors, Rain and Rest

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Shabbat dawned sunny but a bit chilly, for us, anyway.  The latter rains have come to the dry pampas but blew on over to the northeast yesterday leaving everything a bright green and fresh smelling.  That part of it is great … the waving fronds of weeds mocking me isn’t so great.

But today is a day of rest, and I put mowing out of my mind, along with a growing list of house maintenance items.  I spend all week ignoring my chores, and then on a holy day of rest, I want to do them all in one day.  I am a failure at religion, but I keep trying to live up to its tenets.

The neighbor bought a new motorcycle, and rather than ride it, he sets in the yard and guns it.  I like bikes ok, but after ten minutes of hearing it rev, I start getting a headache and contemplate if I can put a hole in his engine block with a 30-06 without putting a hole him.  They frown on shooting anyone but robbers and burglars here.

Snooks is at a plateau now, and at some moments she is almost normal, and at others she can’t recall anything more than six seconds past.  But I can tell her the same joke everyday now, and she thinks it is funny.  So often I want to ride to her rescue as she fights with the remote control, and usually she gets it after struggling with it.  But a few times she has pulled me out of bed to turn off the TV and black box.  I keep reminding myself that we are not even into a full year yet.

I have noticed that if she doesn’t take an honest nap in bed, she has more problems.  But she has never been a ‘napper’, and sometimes it is all we can do to talk her into it.  More difficult things like counting by twos and fours gives her problems.

And she is a sucker for telephone spammers.  One day a salesman showed up for a roof repair, and I had to send him back home.  He protested he had an appointment, and when I told him that Snooks just can’t handle pressure now and told him yes just to shut him up.

And now we get incessant calls from Medicare plans since this is the enrollment period.  For a long while now, it has been people from Pakistan and India making the calls, but just last week, I started getting people with Asian accents.  They want to talk with Leeendahh … and I tell them she is unavailable and will never be available to them.  A couple of them got very nasty about it, but frankly, it makes my day when I unhinge one.

But Snook ALWAYS knows that on Shabbat, she listens to a podcast from our old congregation in Denver.  She remembers how to find it and log on.  So, a lot of her memory problems are contingent on her interest in the subject.

Bruce and Amber have really risen to the occasion, and prepare six of the evening meals each week, and clean up afterwards.  And I haven’t horked off too many of my debtors as I try and get their bills paid in a timely manner.  But that is going to be the subject of another post, when I can start laughing at my mistakes.

So on this day of rest, I write, I muse, I play games, and I remember what this day is, and the mystery of it.

Good morning!

Rain, Computers, and Wisdom Come

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Monday dawns wet and rainy as I sit down to my new PC and bang out an original blog entry.  It starts by putting something down and seeing what happens.  Sometimes I get diamonds, and sometimes I get rust. I never know until I post it.

I am decompressing now from the latest emergencies and things are starting to fall into their natural order again, although my life has changed greatly. Exercise becomes a staple in my morning routine, albeit partly cloudy skies prevented me from venturing out to the rehab unit this morning. And when I am done with them, my insurance company pays for my membership in planet fitness.

I can hardly contain my joy.

So much has changed, and so much remains the same. Gone are the mornings that I grabbed a cup of coffee and padded down the long hallway to my studio. Now I start the coffee (usually), weigh myself, sit down at the kitchen table and prick my finger for my insatiable glucose monitor, take my blood pressure, oxygen levels and temperature, fill my syringe and stab myself in the belly.

All this gets dutifully noted in a spreadsheet to make the visiting nurse happy

Then I get to do vitals on Snookums, less the glucose and stabbing.

A little small talk, some raisin bread toast, more coffee, some coffeecake, and an unbelievable assortment of medications finishes that ritual, THEN I can pad down to my studio to do studio things.  Like blogging, musing, and napping.

I am so off of politics, and that used to make up half my posts.  I don’t know what I want to make the theme of my morning posts on.  I spend a lot of time pondering the nature of God these days, and He does reveal much if you ask.

I spent much of my young adult life learning of God and how to obey Him and discovered that I simply was not up to the task of obedience. It just isn’t in my nature.  So, these days I simply want to know his mind.

I think back to a time when I was on a number of self-improvement attempts, but that life was always six inches beyond my grasp.  After a time, I quit reaching, and spent more time musing on my predicament.  I finally concluded that it simply wasn’t in me and never was going to be me.  I had reached my limit.

Oddly, that was a comforting conclusion. Like a child watches his father, I began watching God and often I imitated what I saw and childlike mimicking what I saw. I didn’t always get it right, and often did foolish things, but as I matured, I became more like him.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am light years from seeing God and doing what he does.  But from my new perspective, things became clearer, and I could just ignore obscure passages in scripture until revelation came.

There is a wisdom that come with age, sometimes. And sometimes age brings even greater folly.  I continue to have both experiences, but over time, my actions have improved in such an easier way than trying to bulldoze my way into it.

And so the new dawn changes into a late morning.  When I post this, I can get on with getting this brand new whiz bang computer up to speed.  This is my first post on it, and I am happy with the speed that it has.  I can hardly wait until I get my new games installed.

So while my world outside is drippy and wet, I sit in the warmth of central heat and say good morning!

One Last Update

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As a young actor, loaded with hopes and promises many æons ago

Snookums has made the rounds of specialists now, and all we can do now is wait.  She still is improving day by day, but there will be a three-year hole in her memory, and her short-term memory is still a problem.  The mind is a mysterious and complex thing, and I don’t know how those who study it can conclude there is no such thing as intelligent design.  I don’t know how many coincidences it took for brain development in intelligent animals, but I am convinced that it is statistically improbable for it to be an accident.

Regardless, the damage has ceased and the long road to recovery has begun.  We are having wonderful conversations on aging and death with our coffee.  It sounds like morbid talk to outsiders, but for us it is preparation.  We shan’t escape death, at least in this age.  On the other side of it, there is hope, if not actual belief.

She is still wondering why this had to happen to her, and I don’t tell her how relieved I am that she is asking why.  It tells me she understands her predicament, and we can start moving on to face this challenging part of life.  It is a path we can’t share with others, and at the end, it is a path we can’t share with each other.  Oddly, we are at peace with that.

I am thinking this will be the last of the updates, though I will comment on her recovery from time to time in my other postings.  We move forward by millimeters instead of miles, now.  Each day is a day that we are called to activity.  The future doesn’t exist.  The past doesn’t matter.  And that is enough.

I used to spend time chronicling the excesses of politics, but now I don’t want to talk about it.  The bell has struck.  The door has slammed shut.  What will be, will be.  I can’t stop it.  I can’t change it. But know this, it isn’t going to be good.

So on this autumn morning with a weak sun shining out my window, I turn my thoughts to more pleasant things.  My own little selfish world. 

I have a new PC sitting in a box that I need to install, but it doesn’t seem to be a proper activity on the Shabbat.  I am excited about it, though.  It is powerful enough to do all the things I wish.  I sit here and imagine how I am going to arrange things.

However, for today I muse.  I write.  I pray.  I read.

Good morning!

How Rusty Slays Dragons

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Sir Rusty, the dragon slayer

Rehab! (long, unedited version)

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I don’t know why it is that physical trainers think they must be chirpy, but one met me at the double doors of the cardiac rehab section of the hospital.  I was still puffing hard from my walk from the parking lot.  The hospital is also a teaching campus and is a huge facility.  I was feeling smug because I have handicapped plates on the car, and I can park in those spaces with impunity.  But not at this hospital.  They have many handicapped spots, and they are quickly filled. 

But today I was fortunate find a spot that was closer to my door than the stickered spaces, and I took that as proof that God indeed does love me.  Not that it was so unbearable today.  Autumn has arrived in the Texas pampas, and you can feel the chill in the air.  Yeah.  A true Texan feels a bit chilly at 72°.

But back to the cardiac torture chamber.

The first thing that happens is one of the ever-perky rehab people meets you at the door, gets your name, pull your wireless cardiac monitor and marches you back to the nurses station to take your vitals and wire you up.  She assured me that in time I would know how to do that myself.  Then you get the twenty questions.  I lied a little about a couple. 

“Has it been two hours since your last cup of coffee?” she asked.

 “Yes”, I lied. 

“Did you eat breakfast?” 

Well, I did have a slice of coffee cake with my coffee, so I said, “Yes.”

“Did you get a fasting glucose reading?”

For once I didn’t have to fib. “Yes”

“Is this your first visit to a cardiac rehab unit?” 

“Yes” I lied again.  I had been in the same facility 15 years earlier and left before I completed the regimen.  It was extremely painful experience because the doctors still hadn’t found the precise point of the heart pain I was having.  I was starting to think that I was a slacker.

But now that the pain has been taken care of, my only remaining concern is the COPD.  Most of my life I could power past fatigue, but now, when I reach that point, I am done.  There are no reserves to call on, so I approach this phase of recovery with great tepidity.

Recumbent Cross Trainer

They then sat me on what is called a recumbent cross trainer.  It exercises the arms and legs, and you can vary the effort  between your arms or legs.  My left leg is very weak, and I would work it until it started shaking, then use my arms to give the leg a break.

The trainer told me to do 15 minutes on it.  So, I started peddling.  I did stop often to get my breath, then continued past the 15 minutes until I reached half an hour.  The trainer stopped me at half an hour and asked me how I was feeling.

“I am just SO ecstatic!” I replied, trying not to overdo the sarcasm.  I think I failed.

“I am going to have to watch you a bit closer” she retorted.

Then it was back to the nurses’ station to get the vitals and remove the heart monitor.

“You’re done for the day!” she chirped.

“I guess you failed to kill me today” I quipped.

“We get another two chances at you this week” she shot back …