Notes from the Home - July 31, 2016

It has been a great deal more than comfortably warm in Columbus recently. Mae was putting her walker into the trunk of her car when I came by in the wheelchair.

"You're going to get sunstroke," she said.

"No, I'm not."

"You need to get a straw hat. And, where's your water bottle?"

"I don't like wearing hats, I've been drinking water all day, and I'm going around the building just one time. I'll be back in the air-conditioned comfort of my apartment in ten minutes . . . or less."

"It's awfully hot out here; you be careful."

"Yes, ma'am. But if it's so terribly hot, why are you wearing a sweater?"

"There are holes in it," she said, holding out her arm so I could take a closer look.

The long-sleeve sweater was loosely knit. "There are holes," I said, "but it still looks like something to wear on a cold December morning, not on a warm July evening."

"Look, when you get to be a certain age you want to cover up everything. And I'm at that point," Mae said.

*          *          *

When I go check my mail, usually around noon, I go out the back door, ride halfway around the building, and go back in through the main entrance. It's nice to get out of the building for a few minutes and get some fresh air in my lungs.

Being neither a mad dog nor an Englishman, those sojourns in the noonday sun are short. They aren't short enough for Johnny, the maintenance supervisor, however. Twice last week, Johnny stopped his SUV - he was on his way to McDonald's or some such place for lunch - and asked me if I had a bottle of water with me. Both times I admitted I did not, and both times he told me to be careful, to stay out of the sun, "and get yourself a hat. You're going to get sunstroke."

*          *          *

Virginia and I talked for a few minutes one evening when she was walking her little dog, BooBoo. The heat and her sweater were the main topics of conversation.

"I should have taken this stupid sweater off before I came out," she said.

"Why do you have it on?"

"It got real warm in my apartment this afternoon, and I played with the air conditioning. Then I got cold and put on this sweater. I guess I set the thermostat too low. I'll have to reset it when BooBoo is done out here."

*          *          *

A full night's sleep has become a rarity. Monday, with help from an Advil, I slept for nine hours - nine-thirty Monday night until six-thirty Tuesday morning. The small print on the Advil bottle includes this: "Ask your doctor before use if you are pregnant, under a doctor's care for a serious condition, age 60 or over, taking any other drug or have stomach problems." Although  three of the five reasons for asking the doctor apply to me, I haven't asked him about Advil. I am not totally irresponsible in such matters and only occasionally resort to Advil. Having gone over a week on three or four hours of sleep a night, the Advil seemed worth the risk. In the interest of full-disclosure: I have taken Advil on consecutive nights once or twice, but it doesn't do much good sleepwise the second night, nor even when I've tried taking it every other night.

After those nine hours in dreamland, my legs were stronger and worked a little better. It wasn't a miraculous difference, just the improvement that comes from being well rested. Standing up was easier; pulling my pants up was still a struggle, but not quite the struggle it usually is.

Staying awake Tuesday, however, was as problematic as ever. At nine o'clock, I made my daily inspection of the Covenant Woods' parking lots. When I came back inside, I hung around the activity room until Byron brought in a tray of fresh-basked muffins. I politely grabbed one and chatted with Marie for a few minutes. Then I went  back to the apartment, did a quick check for emails, and glanced at Facebook, before reclining in the new wheelchair and sleeping til noon. Even that wasn't enough. At two-thirty I fell asleep while I was sitting at the computer.

I didn't get much sleep Tuesday night, and when I got up at four o'clock Wednesday morning, I took an Adderall. It's good stuff. The Adderall somehow settles my mind and helps me concentrate. I think it also makes me a little more sociable.

But Adderall also keeps me awake well into the night and the following morning. So, I seldom take it. How seldom? The one I took Wednesday was the last of a prescription for thirty pills. According to the information on the bottle, the prescription was filled May 15, 2015, and I was to have disposed of any unused pills on May 14, 2016. Oh well, I was only a couple months late getting rid of the stuff.

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