Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Notes from the Home - March 9, 2016

     I got my dinner to go Sunday. As I waited for Styrofoam containers filled with soup, salad roast beef, mashed potatoes, beets and black eyed peas, I had a chance to talk to Ruth, who was also waiting for her meal. Ruth is an always smiling, spry eighty-six-year old, who loves to joke and banter. Once she gets going it is easy to forget she has memory issues.
     That wasn’t the case Sunday. The first thing she said was, “My grandson and his wife had a baby boy this morning.” She told me about her grandchildren and greatgrandchildren, and we joked with the servers while the cooks were filling our orders. And four times in the five minutes we waited, Ruth said, “Did I tell you my grandson and his wife had a baby boy this morning?”
*     *     *
     Back in the 1950s and 60s, Mom, Dad, and countless teachers constantly told me I was out of line. I don’t know about that, but I was off line for three days recently. One afternoon, the secure Wi-Fi Covenant Woods began offering its residents six weeks ago went out. The problem, whatever it was, didn’t affect the entire complex, just the hallway where my apartment is. As far as I know, only Mildred, who lives across the hall, and I noticed. A few days later, a knock on the door interrupted my afternoon beauty rest. It was Johnny, the maintenance supervisor, who came by to tell me the Wi-Fi was back.
     Life without constant access to the Internet was a learning experience. I learned that I spend far too much time on-line doing nothing much. And I learned that life without immediate access to the Internet is not so bad. It is just too easy to waste time checking and rechecking my email and Facebook. The email stops, though too frequent, are quick: I don’t get much. Facebook, Huffington Post and a couple other sites are killers. I scroll, scroll, scroll away the hours looking for interesting posts. Not that I spend much time reading them when I find them – usually nothing more than the headline and a paragraph or two. Then on I go looking for more.
     I have resolved to spend less time wondering around the Internet. The vast majority of the resolutions I have made in the last nearly sixty-eight years have come to naught. Time will tell.
     It is now a week later, and I must report, it is easier to resolve to do something than it is to do it.
*     *     *
     In the summer of 1974, I moved to Ashtabula County, Ohio and remained there, except for a brief time in San Antonio, until the spring of 2012. During those thirty-eight years, I undoubtedly purchased something from Griffiths Furniture. What it was, or when I bought it, is a mystery to me.
     It is good to know, however, that Griffiths has not forgotten me. In among the other junk mail a few days ago was a card touting Griffiths’ upcoming customer appreciation sale. Yes, Thomas Harris or Current Resident here on Woodruff Farm Road in Columbus, Georgia, 31907, is invited to go to Griffiths on Wednesday, March 9, and get the “largest discount we have ever offered on all furniture and appliances.” And they are offering free delivery.

*     *     *
     Saw Dr. Miller, the primary care guy, for my annual checkup last week. After he poked, prodded and declared that I am in pretty good shape for the shape I’m in, he handed me a sheet of paper and told Russ to take me to the check-out window. The woman on the other side of the window, who looked to be in her late twenties or early thirties, glanced at the papers and asked me how long I have had MS.
     “I was diagnosed in October ’06.”
     “They told me last week, I have MS.”
     That short conversation took me back to the MS Walk at Mentor High School in the fall of 2007. Nancy and I stayed inside and manned a table brimming with literature from various organizations. During the two hours we were at the table, three or four women of the same age as the lady at the check-out window and who also had MS stopped by.
     There is one thing in my MS experience that I am thankful for: MS didn’t begin interfering with my life until after Russ and Beth were out of school and building lives of their own. In 2006, when I was diagnosed, Russ was 28 and Beth was 22. My left leg began acting funny in the late ’80s or early ’90s. It was a very occasional thing, and it never lasted long. Usually, sitting down for fifteen or twenty minutes got things back to reasonably normal. Until 2005, when the problem became more pronounced, I was sure there was nothing much wrong.
     When the kids were growing up, I did all the things fathers are supposed do with the kids: played ball with them, took them to Lake Shore Park to swim and sled, raked leaves so Beth could jump into the pile, and took Russ to see the Indians play ball.
     MS is a bitch at any age, but I feel so sorry for who must contend with it when they are young adults and probably have active, young children running about. There must be way, way, way too days when those young MSers, even those with relapsing-remitting forms of the disease, have to say, “Not today. Mommy doesn’t feel good.”
*     *     *
     To complete the checkup, I needed to pee in a cup and let a nurse take blood from me. Because of some confusion in scheduling, I went back to the Columbus Clinic yesterday to git ’er done. Actually, Dr. Miller gave me a cup to pee in when I saw him last week. I am unable to pee on command these days, and the cup made it possible for me to pee in it in the comfort of my own home before Russ arrived to take me to the Clinic.
     This afternoon, a nurse from Dr. Miller’s office called to tell me about the results. My cholesterol is just a bit high, she said, and I should really start watching what I eat. I consulted the Internet and got a list of foods that help lower cholesterol. I don’t have a problem with any of them. This should be a snap.
     Then I got a list of foods to avoid. YIKES!!! Butter, ice cream, cheese, cookies, pastries, muffins. On the bright side, liver is on that list, and I won’t have a problem giving it up. But does it count as giving it up if I never ate in the first place? 
     One evening two years ago when liver in one form or another was an entrée on the Covenant Woods’ dinner menu, I overheard Catherine telling Lucy, the food service manager, that the liver that night was better than sex. I told them, if I had heard anyone say that when I was an impressionable lad, I’d still be a virgin.

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