Showing posts from 2014

Al, Isabelle and Amy

Early Monday afternoon, as I was stuffing the evening's menus into the folders, Sherrie, one of the nurses' assistants, came by and said the EMTs were upstairs with Al. His heart was racing, she said, 122 beats a minute.  Al had asked her to let me know he was going to the hospital. Hoping to see him before he left, I headed to the B building, but I got to the door just as the ambulance left.
     "He was cussing out everyone," Sherrie said. Others who had seen Al earlier that morning said he seemed fine and wasn't cussing out anyone, at least not to an unusual degree.
      Penelope saw Al this morning (Tuesday). He was still in the emergency room. The doctors want him to remain in the hospital and were waiting for an available room. Al is less than delighted with the situation; he wants to come home.
     Penelope said she had spoken to the doctors about prescribing something to help Al deal with his anxiety. I have known Al for almost three years, and sev…

Notes from the Home - December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014 was delightful. Karen's mom, Penny, and step-dad, Mitch, were down from Indiana, and her sister, Colleen, was up from Florida. Tuesday afternoon, Russ fetched his old man and hurried him to their place for a taco dinner. There are many, many very nice, very interesting people at Covenant Woods. Talk to any of them long enough, however, and the subject of the conversation will turn to the state of their health, or to the state of world, both of which, they will tell you, are going to hell in a hand basket. It was nice to just talk about stuff, and hear a few embarrassing tales of Karen's youth. Mitch is a rabbi, and Tuesday was the last day of Hanukkah. After dinner Penny lit the eight candles of the menorah.
     Wednesday, Christmas Eve, we exchanged gifts. But before we did, we enjoyed a dinner of brisket, Swiss chard, asparagus, and cauliflower. I went home with a new seat pad and arm rest for my wheelchair, along with four books:Allegheny City: A Histor…

Someone is Watching

In this wired world some computer somewhere is aware of what I do even as I do it. I know this, but there are times when it is more obvious than others. Last week was one of those times. It started Wednesday, when I called Express Scripts, my pharmacy benefits manager, as it likes to bill itself.
     OK, I guess it started a month ago when Express Scripts sent a letter telling me that Dr. Miller had not responded to their request to send them a new prescription for my blood pressure pills. I called the Columbus Clinic, but after spending what seemed an eternity listening to Columbus Clinic commercials interspersed with assurances that my call was important to the Columbus Clinic and an operator would be with me just as soon as one became available, or once hell froze over, which ever came last, I hung up. I tried again the next day and got the same result.
     A quick check of my pill supply, however, indicated that I was not in imminent danger of running out of Atenolol, the m…

Notes from the Home - December 20, 2014

Last week, Isabelle moved from her two-bedroom apartment in the B building to a room in Personal Care (nee Assisted Living). She had not been looking forward to the move, but now that it is done, she seems to have relaxed.      A month ago, when she returned from her second week-long stay in hospice, Isabelle was told she should move to Personal Care. Arranging the move would take time, and she would need a caregiver with her twenty-four hours a day until she moved. From three thousand miles away, her daughter and son-in-law, who live in Oregon, worked out most of the details of the move.
     The caregiver helped Isabelle with showering and other necessary chores, for which Isabelle is extremely grateful. Mostly, however, Isabelle spends her days on the recliner watching television, and the caregiver spent her days on the loveseat watching Isabelle watch television. Living with a person to whom she was not married or otherwise related to took a toll on Isabelle's nerves. H…

Notes from the Home - November 30, 2014

The autumnal equinox was two months ago, but only this week, the week of Thanksgiving, has fall, or more precisely, something a person who has spent most of his falls in western Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio would recognize as fall, come to west Georgia. How is a Yankee transplant supposed to feel fall in the air when on the day before Halloween the landscaping people filled Covenant Woods' flower beds with pansies in bloom? To the veteran gardener that may be the normal, the proper, the seasonal thing to do. To the horticulturally challenged, however, the pansies look like a variety of petunia and give rise to questions such as, do the kids have Little League tonight?
     The trees have been shedding their leaves ever so slowly for several weeks. While most trees still have nearly all their leaves, there are enough naked ones now to give a fallish cast to things. And most of the remaining leaves are turning. The fall colors are nothing to write home about, but they are so…

Notes from the Home - November 16, 2014

Monday, after a week-long stay at Columbus Hospice, Isabelle returned to Covenant Woods. She has congenital heart problems along with some respiratory issues. She also has brittle bones, which I didn't know until the other day.
     "They're afraid I might fall," she said when I called her. "When Ralph and I were moving in, I fell and broke my wrist and hit my head. They took X-rays or did a scan or something of my head to see if I hurt anything. That's when they found out I have an aneurysm in my brain. About two weeks after I got the cast off my wrist, I fell and broke my other wrist."
     For the time being, Isabelle is back in the two-bedroom apartment she and Ralph, who died last November, moved into a few months before I got here. She is on the waiting list for a room in Personal Care, the area formerly known as Assisted Living. Until a room becomes available, Isabelle will have a caregiver with her twenty-four hours a day.
     Friday morn…

Notes from the Home - November 9, 2014

For two weeks, maybe longer, the weather in Columbus has been nearly perfect: plentiful sunshine, low humidity, cool mornings, pleasantly warm afternoons and cool evenings. I wouldn't mind 365 days a year like these. Well, maybe 350 days. Two weeks of less than ideal weather each year should be enough to keep me from getting bored with meteorological perfection.
    Every morning, weather permitting, I make three laps around the Covenant Woods' grounds - just a shade under two miles according to the wheelchair's odometer. On most of those mornings, James is busy tossing the accumulated garbage from C Building into the dumpster. He gives me the morning sports report: all the news that is news about Georgia, Auburn and Alabama. James knows I am a Steelers fan, and last Monday he gave me a detailed summary of Big Ben's performance against the Ravens. I'm not looking forward to tomorrow's report on the Black and Gold's showing in New York today.
   Randy, al…

Thoughts on "When I Walk"

One morning a couple of weeks ago, I crawled out of bed at two o'clock..The reason had to do with Sandy, who was a colleague of mine at Ash/Craft, and Mary, a bicycling friend of Nancy's and the person who got me involved in Suzanne's writing class. They they live within twenty miles of each other, but they were three thousand miles from home when they met while on a tour of the West Coast. Among other things they talked about Multiple Sclerosis. Mary's son has MS, and Sandy is friends with a woman and her brother, who both have MS.
   In a Facebook message, Sandy told me about Ampyra, a drug that seems to be helping both the woman, who has the relapsing-remitting form of MS, and her brother, who has primary-progressive MS. And she asked if I was familiar with "When I Walk,"which is Jason DaSilva's account of his experience with MS. Mr. DaSilva is a filmmaker, and "When I Walk" was shown on the PBS series POV.
    The film, which I was able …

Notes from the Home - October 3, 2014

Notes from the Home - September 28, 2014