Sunday, February 25, 2018

This Week Could Have Been a Scene from an Alfred Hitchcock Movie. . . Day 1

 This has been an insane week. Starting on Monday, the Hounds of Hell began yelping; and they have yet to shut up! Tommy had a doctor's appointment at Boone Hospital. His arrival was 1 p.m. The procedure for endoscopy of his pancreas was scheduled for 1:30. These procedures seldom last more than a couple of hours maximum. We are sitting in the waiting room listening for Tommy's name to be called. 1:30 arrives and leaves. So does 2:30. I become a little antsy. I take a walk and try and find a nurse. Last words Tommy says is, 'don't get in any trouble.' Like I would!. I mosey on back to the patient care area and there is no one in sight. Not one nurse, not one patient, not one janitor. I come back to the waiting room and ask Tommy if he is sure we are at the right place. He is positive we are at the right place. By then two other women have arrived and are in various stages of crying. I ask them if I can help and they said in unison "No, but thank you".  I tell them if they need me I am on the other side of the room divider. Finally, I walk back to our side of the waiting area and Tommy is dozing. I pick up a 2015 magazine and try to find something I haven't already read. It was no use. My mind was far from India and Peru. About this time a nurse comes up to us and asks us to follow her back to the room where we will meet the doctor and he will explain some things to us.    Alright!!!, we are about to get this show on the road. Tommy is given a gown and two hours later the doctor shows up.The doctor said he was running late because of emergencies, but that hopefully, he would be with us soon.  Keep in mind Tommy had been NPO since midnight and he is diabetic. It is close to 4 p.m. We sit in two comfortable chairs and drop off to sleep. I wake up at 5:30 p.m. The parking lot has lost three-fourths of the cars that were parked there earlier in the day. All of the dusk to dawn lights are on. The apartments across the street have a few lights randomly shining. No one is walking around in the houses or the parking lot. I get a creepy feeling something is wrong. That is when I decide to take another walk. Once again there is dead silence. There are no secretaries, no nurses, no doctors, and the janitor still hasn't shown up.I turn and walk down the other hallway. It is as empty as our hallway appears to be. Finally, I reach a room with a light on and there sit the two ladies who were crying earlier. Without thinking I blurt out, "Thank God you are here!! I thought the rapture had happened and we missed it.!!!"  They started laughing and said, "Well, I hope not" One of the ladies informed me her husband was the reason everything was screwed up. He had not eaten anything in three weeks. He could drink fluids but he was in so much pain they brought him to the hospital. Evidentally, he didn't want to come but they told him if he didn't he would die! I sat down with the ladies. Of course, we start talking about our husbands. One of the ladies said," My husband has been so sick and refused to come to the dr. He thought the drive was too far. They live down at the Lake of the Ozarks. She began to cry again. I told her that when mine talked to the doctor he seldom gets anything right. She gave me a knowing laugh. I apologize to her for the remark about the Rapture. She started laughing and said," That is the funniest thing I have heard in weeks! And I desperately needed to laugh. Just wait until I tell our church family about it, everyone will get a good laugh." I bet Tommy and I are on their prayer list. About this time, my stomach growls sounding like a herd of turtles marching across a gravel road. The lady asked me if I had eaten anything. I told her no because he was NPO and I don't like to leave when he is having a procedure done. She said, 'all I have left is an oatmeal cookie. But you can have that. I grabbed it and said,"Thank you", about a million times. It was the best oatmeal cookie Little Debbie had made or I have ever eaten. I heard someone singing sort of and I walked around the corner to see the janitor peeing in the urinal while blasting away on,"Amazing Grace". I tiptoed back and made a slow dash for my room to wait for Tommy. About ten minutes later the janitor pushed his cart down the hall singing,"Thank You, Jesus". By now it has started to rain...as in pouring down hard, heavy rain. I am the designated driver because Tommy will be loopy and I have night blindness. I can't see anything when I drive at night and Tommy will be just this side of drunk. It is raining very hard by the time Tommy is able to leave the hospital. It is after 9 p.m. and an hour drive in good weather. He was not a happy camper with my driving but he really didn't want to walk. We made it home. We needed to get up early the next morning and go back to the VA for a blood draw and another procedure. The dr. ordered a CMP lab work up in two days. Thank God he did. To be continued...

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Pissy Mood of a Blessed Woman. . .

   This lady is in a really pissy mood tonight. Don't let the photo to left fool you. If you saw her this minute, you would wonder how it is possible the happy lady in the photo can be so sad. It was made the same day she started this blog.  The happy lady doesn't know the answer, however, she is sad for sure. She knows life is full of unanswered questions. That is part of being human. We are not built to know the way the story ends. Why would we ever want to know? Few people read the end of a much anticipated book before they read the beginning. If we knew the ending how could we ever enjoy the adventure of the book to its fullest? We couldn't. It is the same truth in being alive. Never take for granted a long amazing drive to destinations unknown. Perhaps if we did, we would no longer value the bits of magic life offers at unusual random times. They would become something ordinary or something we expect or think we deserve. It would be so sad for a moonlight walk on the beach to become mundane. I would hate for kisses to hurt or a hug to cause my loved one to wince in pain. I want many more adventures before we arrive at our final destination. I want to laugh until I cry tears of joy. Most of all, I want Tommy to be well and pain-free.  And that my friend is the one thing I cannot fix.
   

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sometimes I Need to be Near a Large Body of Water. . .

  I do not believe in astrology.  I think it is fun to read at times but that is as far as my belief goes.  According to the stars, I am an Aries, belonging to the fire signs.  Fire does speak to me. I get lost in the beauty of our fire pit and all the stories that leap from the flames. I don't think I ever miss fire. Maybe that is because we use our fire pit so much. I do know that I need to be near a large body of water more often than not.  Today was one of those days.  With that thought in mind, Tommy and I decided to go to Portland and watch the river and walk the trails.  We knew the river should be thawing some by now. The temperatures were in the mid-sixties. Huge chunks of frozen white, blue and brown ice rushed by us as we stood on the banks of the Missouri River. The roar of the rushing water was loud and unrelenting as it rushed past us. It seemed to be in a hurry to reach the Mississippi River.  I know the feeling. As much as I love the Missouri River it will never take the place of the Mississippi River and my love for Columbus, Kentucky. 
    Today, as we stood on the banks of the Missouri River we heard hundreds of geese and ducks across the river. We could barely see them but their voices were loud and proud. They seemed to be enjoying their side of the river as much as we were enjoying our side.  Perhaps the birds felt like we were intruding on their Sunday afternoon.    

                                   
     It was a long shot to take of the birds. I know they are there but I doubt if anyone else can see them.  Looking at this photo is a good memory for us. Tommy and I walked down the Katie Trail, looking for the hidden caves, crevasses and barren cottonwood trees. Without a doubt cottonwood, Aspen, and birch trees with their whitebark contrast among the rest of the dark wooded trees are some of my favorite trees to photograph and paint. When I look at the woods in winter I see life. Several places had green weeds trying to grow. It is too early for them but I give them A for effort. These plants are hardy and have been here a long time. As it is stated in "Jurassic Park", nature will find a way. I believe it does.



   As we walked along I photographed every tree, rock and river shot that caught my attention. I enjoy the ledges and rocks that were carved in the midst of the woods along the river banks to make a road called the Katie Trail. Vehicles are not allowed on it. Bikes, pedestrians, and the remanents of Mother Nature are the only ones allowed to walk the trail. We saw a lot of deer trails leading down to the river. We also saw several caves that looked interesting.  I asked Tommy if he thought any Osage Indians ever lived and loved in these bluff

caves.  You would have thought I had asked if the antichrist was purple!! He said, "For heaven's sake!!!  Where do you get these ideas???" He walked on down the trail laughing. Hmmm, 'they
 ran through my mind as I was walking along and I said the words
out loud,' I thought.  After a lifetime together, you would think he would be used to these random thoughts. Evidently not! I see a story or a painting everywhere I go. I enjoy photographing this knothead I married. At times, he is as big a mystery as the caves I see on the road to Jefferson City. At other times he is as comfortable and familiar as my first taste of coffee in the morning. It was a good day in our corner of the world.  I hope it was for everyone.



                                                                                           

Friday, January 5, 2018

Wanna Get Rid of the Flu...Set the House on Fire...

  Tommy and I have had a rough ten days. We have a case of the flu from Hell, that literally knocked us on our wazoo.
  I missed two of his doctor appointments because I was too sick to go to the VA hospital with him. I have no sense of smell or taste. When coffee tastes off-kilter, I am either sick or pregnant. I pick 'sick' and stayed home again. I had things I needed to do. So with all the strength I had, I drug my sick wazoo off the futon, brought in wood, filled up the stove, washed the dishes and fell out in my recliner, completely exhausted. I picked up James Lee Burke's new novel, "Robicheaux" and began to get lost in one of my favorite characters life.  The bucket of wood I had tried to put in the stove about ten minutes earlier, burst into flames.  In fact, I didn't know we had a fire until I glanced up and the living room was filled with smoke, ditto for the kitchen and the den. By this time my eyes were burning. I moved faster in the next ten minutes than I had all week. I ran to the kitchen to get a big glass of water, dumping it on the blaze. It took 4 or 5 huge glasses of water to douse the flames. Did I mention the flames, were at first, jumping about 18 inches in the air out of the bucket? The flames were facing a wall and between the television and the wood stove. I don't remember how I got the bucket, smoldering wood, and rug out the back door...but I did. I know Miz Vicky was moving on!!
  I was tired, exasperated and filled with 'what ifs.' It seems the what-ifs start as soon as sanity returned. I remember thinking,"what if I had gone back to our bedroom and gone to sleep?" It was a sobering thought. I doubt if I would be writing this blog tonight.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Karma Bit Me In the Butt...

 I miss my friend Carol Shea more than I can express in words. Carol died on Dec.9 2013. The only disagreement we ever had in our twenty-year friendship, was over her obsession with taking in wild cats. Carol had seven house cats that were mean to strangers. She also had about twenty outside cats that she fed better than I did my children. We both worked nights at Fulton State Hospital. After she retired she kept her same schedule. Tommy and I returned to sleeping nights like normal people. I spent the night with Carol and Punky, her sister once or twice a month. I would drive them to Jefferson City to doctor appointments, Walmart for grocery shopping. We would eat out and go to different hobby shops. It was a fun time for all of us.
   Carol would get up at midnight and start boiling chicken for the cats. Around 2 a.m. she would be outside, no matter what the weather was like, to feed those cats. I fussed at her all the time about this situation. It fell on deaf ears. It really wasn't any of my business, however, I knew her financial status and I knew that she was sick. I took her to the doctor each month. She wouldn't let me go in. She would say she had a 'back problem'. I believed this until almost the end of her life. She always told me she would get me back for not liking her cats. I am pretty sure she has. Last year a black and orange calico cat came to our house in the winter and had 4 kittens. One disappeared and when the babies were old enough to stay on their on the Mama cat took off. The kittens grew up and made a home in the garage. A few weeks ago their Mama came back. I know she had kittens in the garage. I just haven't found them yet. Low and behold a black male came around, he stayed for a couple of months. I think it was just enough time to get the other cats pregnant. So by the time winter is over we will be knee deep in unwanted cats. I can hear Carol laughing now. She is the one behind these wild cats showing up. I know she is. We have never had a problem with wild cats. I can't touch the cats. They know our voices and when we feed our dog. I have to feed double now because they eat all of Sabella's food. I really don't know what we are going to do with the cats. Yesterday they ate one of my birds, a nuthatch. There were feathers everywhere in the garage. Carol thinks this is funny. It is also karma she sent my way for fussing at her about her cats. I will be so glad when I learn to keep my mouth shut!!  Carol and I both know this isn't gonna happen. . . and still she laughs.


          Mama cat...



Saturday, December 30, 2017

Saying Good Bye to 2017. . .

  I am delighted that 2017 is hours away from no longer existing. I honestly think it has been the worst year of my life. However, as bad as 2017 was at times, we made it. The journey was not pretty or easy by any means. Tommy went through hell and so did our family.  Tommy is alive and is doing well. We have a three month check up in January. The 3rd,4th and, 5th are the days the VA checks Tommy out from top to bottom to see if he is still cancer free and everything else is working as it should. We are believing the results will be good news. He still has pain from the shingles in his left arm but Lyrica is doing wonders for the PHP. There are a couple other things that need to be healed but in the long run, he is fine.
   The girls and I can actually sleep and breath almost like normal people. There was a time when I thought this would never happen again. I am so glad I was wrong.
    Not everything that happened in 2017 was bad. We had many blessings come our way. Tami moved to Troy and purchased a new home. She fell in love with Jake Gordy. His family has doubled our pleasure. The holidays were so nice with all the young people, his brother, and his Mom. We needed all that laughter. 
    Melodi, Lacey, and Rowan visited us in April. Most of our family members were born in April so they came in to celebrate. We all took Rowan to the zoo. I think it was my favorite day of the summer.  There were six adults and two children, Logan and Rowan. The laughs were bouncing off the bricks as we rambled around the zoo. It was a wonderful day trip.
    When Tommy got sick, Lisa and Lisle came in to help out. Lisle had to go back to Florida but Lisa stayed with us for weeks while Tami moved into her new home. Tami had been staying with us off and on for days at a time. It was a cluster smuck in every sense of the word. Everything that happened to Tommy was unexpected, coming somewhere out of left field. For several months we did not know if he would live or not. Live he did!!
     Tommy and I missed our families back home. We had a break in doctor appointments and took off for home in Kentucky and Tennessee for five days. It was a brother and sister kind of visit. The trip was filled with laughter, good food, and several trips to Reelfoot Lake. Tommy and I really needed to spend time with his brothers and sisters. We had a wonderful time, remembering old memories and making new memories. It did us a world of good to get away for awhile.
    Today is Dec.30th. We have snow on the ground and wind chill advisories until Monday or Tuesday. Our home smells like cinnamon spice with a touch of the wood stove thrown into the mix. We are warm and toasty. Life is good, not perfect but good. For me, that is enough. Happy New Year to all our friends and family. I thank you all for your prayers, gifts, cards, care packages, messages, and love. You all have made this year easier on us. Thank you and Happy New Year to each and every one!
    
     

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Merry Christmas--VA Style...

    Yesterday we had an  8:30 appointment with the optometrist at the VA.  I told Tommy I would stay downstairs while he had his eyes checked.  I wanted to take some photos of the huge Christmas tree in the lobby.  It is one of the prettiest trees I have ever seen. When I saw it Monday, I didn't have my camera. Today I remembered to put the camera in my purse. I was on a mission.
      The lobby, where the huge tree stands, appeared close to empty. No one had turned on the news channel yet. People were sitting in silent clusters as they waited for a loved one or an appointment. The aroma of coffee filled the air.  Since it was a cloudy day, the sky lights added to the darkness in the lobby.  All I had on my mind was coffee and the tree. I could have sworn  yesterday when I saw this tree it was lit up. I walked  around the tree twice trying to find the connections for the lights. I couldn't find anything. I strolled up to the front desk and asked the three men sitting there, "How do I turn on that beautiful Marine tree?" That, my friends, is when the place lit up!! They all started laughing. The man closest to me said,"What makes you think that is a 'Marine' tree?? I don't see a Marine here. I am Air Force, he is Army and my buddy over there is Navy. Do you see a Marine in here???"  I knew I had already stepped in it so I was ready to have some fun.  I said."I married a Marine. Looks like a Marine tree to me!!" They all started laughing and talking at once. I could have sworn one of them said, "We make the Marines wait outside!" He told me to go plug up the tree. I told him there was no place to plug it up. I had already looked. He was still laughing when he said, "Do you want me to walk back there and fix the 'Marine' tree for you?"  I said, "Or you could fly since you are 'Air Force".  He laughed at my smart ass response and got up to go with me to the tree. The men behind me were still talking and laughing at us. When we reached the tree, he couldn't find a way to plug it up. Finally, from behind the tree, someone said, "It doesn't light up." I told him I could have sworn it was lit up the other day. He said the sun was probably shining and that made it look like it was lit up. He also mentioned the tree did not have lights. The Air Force man and I laughed, shook hands and went our separate ways. I thanked him for his service. As he walked back up front, I heard him mutter and laugh again, "Marine tree".
     As I sat down, I began to study the tree. It is made of red, white and blue sparkly leaves mixed in with the greenery of the tree, to symbolize our flag.  Purple hearts are the only decorations on the bottom two thirds of the tree. They symbolize bravery, sacrifice and often death and honor. The top part of the tree is decorated with white stars. The angel on top of the tree is a soldier encased in white wings.  This tree made me stop and think about all the young men and women who won't be home for Christmas. Some are serving at their duty stations waiting for orders to go somewhere else.  Some will never make it home alive. As always, when I go to the VA, I get a sense of pride and I am thankful once again that I married a Marine and shared his last two years of duty. We made memories to last a lifetime.
     My prayer for the United States is for peace. I know that is an impossibility. Every day the news gets worse. Peace on Earth is an illusion this year...but a good illusion indeed.