Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bringing in the sleeves…

I suppose everyone has their own reasons for why they don’t like going to the dentist. Perhaps it was an unfortunate experience in which the tooth to be worked on was not quite numb when the drilling started, or perhaps it is just the feeling of helplessness with you lying almost prone unable to talk and the dentist and the assistant hovering over you, as so aptly portrayed by the master cartoonist Gary Larson…

I have already written in an earlier post about my fear of loosing my teeth, so I don’t have to rehash that, but I do take very good care of my teeth and am faithful about having them cleaned and checked for problems. And the last time I went, I did indeed have two small areas that were being “watched” and that had progressed to cavities that needed to be filled. This was not really bad news because I have extremely weak teeth and these are the first fillings I have needed for perhaps 5 years or more.

So I returned from an hour or so of being worked on, with part of my face numb and drool threatening to leak from the corners of my mouth, and Richard meets me at the door to the bedroom.

Can you please explain to me what that hymn Bringing in the Sleeves is about? What does it mean “We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sleeves?” I gave him what I imagine was a lopsided smile and started to explain….

The word isn’t “sleeves” sweetie… it is sheaves. It comes from a verse….”

But then I saw the expression on his face and I realized he was teasing me.

I think living with someone who fancied himself a comedian and was always “on” would become very tiring very quickly. And fortunately, he is not a comedian in that sense. But he has enough of a sense of humor to liven up the grayest day and to balance out other aspects of his personality that sometimes make me a little crazed, and that is the one thing about him that I truly cherish.

Friday, January 16, 2015


Trying to convey in writing how hilarious this exchange was is really not going to work. I get that. But, I am still dealing with pain around my lungs that limits my ability to laugh as I would like too (and yes, I expect I will need to Take Further Steps). I need to get this down here so that when I have forgotten the conversation and come back in a month to see what I have written, I will be able to remember and laugh properly.

As way of background, cats are intensely attracted to my husband. A friend, who believes in this sort of thing, says it is because he is a Leo. I don’t think so; but nevertheless, cats generally love him. When we visit friends who have indoor cats that are not automatically terrified of strangers, they are right there where he is. The veterinary clinic where we take the dog has a free-roaming office cat. When Richard went to retrieve the dog after her teeth were cleaned and sat down to wait, the office cat, which sees a steady stream of people all day long and totally ignored me when I dropped the dog off, immediately got in his lap.

We will have lived here 34 years in May, and we have had cats for about 32 of those years. Actually just 2 cats (both rather long-lived, obviously) Richard was the go-to person for the head and under-the-chin scratches for our first cat, and Richard again became the go-to person for head scratching when Squeaker came along--actually, there was another car who lived here briefly who hated both of us (even Richard) but loved our son, and he took her and gave us Squeaker. When Squeaker goes to Richard for her head scratches, he sends her into such fits of ecstasy that she slobbers on him.

On the very very rare occasions when she comes to me to be scratched, Richard will want to know:

Is this alienation of kitty affection?

Now the dog is my dog. My dog. Mine. She pays attention to Richard when she thinks he is going to give her one of her special treats (a chew stick to help keep her gums healthy), but otherwise she has eyes only for me. My dog.

Mine, I tell you.

Which brings us to yesterday. We came back from the surgery center, and I sat down on the couch to rest. It is a puzzlement how riding in car for 2 hours makes one so exhausted that one needs to sit on the couch to recuperate, but there we were. Molly came in and hopped up on the recliner, and then Richard wandered in and sat down on the recliner next to her. She promptly put her head on his knee and looked at him with adoring eyes while he stroked her head and scratched her behind the ears.

Is this alienation of doggy affection? I wanted to know.


 YES! He says.


I will have the cat…”


“I will have the dog….” 

“And you will have... nothing.”


The inflection in his voice when he said “nothing,” was so funny, I grinned at him, and then he burst into laughter. I would have liked to burst into laughter myself, but that wasn't quite possible, so I laughed along as best I could.

I expect to be laughing full bore before too long (I hope).

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Here a drop, there a drop, everywhere a drop…

Today my dearly beloved had an operation to remove the cataract in his left eye that developed rapidly after the procedure he had in March 2012 to repair a “tent” in the macula. In this procedure, a gas was injected that was supposed to push the tent back level with the rest of the macula. Cataract is a adverse effect of this treatment, and sure enough, a large one developed in that eye. Unfortunately, the treatment was only partially successful, so his vision was already not quite right in that eye before the cataract began to grow.
The procedure he had 3 years ago involved intensive eye-drop therapy with extremely expensive eye drops – $194 for a teeny tiny bottle – and we were not very successful in getting the drops in the eye. I say “we’ but actually, I was not very successful. Richard could not administer the drops himself, so I had do it. But I also had to try to keep his eye open, or make a “pouch” with the lower lid and put the drop in there, and inevitably I either missed his eye entirely or the drop seemed to run out the side. It was very frustrating.

And so I was not entirely enthusiastic at once again being recruited to administer antibiotic drops, which began yesterday every 2 hours. The expensive drop (now $220 a bottle) only had to go in once. However, the main difference this time was that he held his eye open so I could put the drop right on top of his eye without it running out. It worked beautifully.

Today I got to watch the procedure on a monitor that showed what the doctor was seeing through his operating microscope. And even better, the surgery center provided a person to sit next to me who explained everything that was being done. There were “jackhammer” tools and “vacuum tools” and I watched them pulverize the cataract and then suck the bits out and put the new lens in.

The slight gap in the tape that holds the patch over his eye has allowed him to see out the sides, and already he has noticed that that the whites are whiter. He may be seeing things in a whole new light tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Day Is Done...

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is nigh.

Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar, drawing near
Falls the night.

Thanks and praise for our days
Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky
As we go, this we know
God is nigh.
The sun has made its way across the clear, blue winter sky. The trees across the highway are lit up but are starting to fade a little; and our yard lies in shadow as dusk approaches. Day is, indeed, done.

I have thought a lot during this day about what to write here, and I cried some as I composed and then discarded various posts in my head, and then took a deep breath and plowed on with work and other household activities, and then thought some more.

Our son’s favorite place to eat in town was (is!) an independent pizza restaurant called Pizza Americana.
I have had pizza in any number of franchise restaurants, and it has all been good, but the pizza served here is the best I have ever eaten.

We had  lunch here today to celebrate his memory and reflect a little on the past 4 years. He loved jalapeno peppers, and so I added those to the topping on my pizza. The pizza was wonderful, as usual. My nose was dripping by the time I finished the last bite.

Has it really been 4 years? On one hand it seems like yesterday—certainly the memories of what happened on January 13, 2011, are as vivid now as they were then—and on the other hand it seems like an eternity has gone by.

For him, of course, eternity has already begun.

Monday, January 12, 2015

To sleep, perchance to dream…

Upon waking up in the morning, I can usually remember what I have dreamed about for a little while, but gradually the details fade and eventually I forget.

There are exceptions of course. I have a recurring dream that is frightening enough that I remember the general details long after but not all of specifics—it’s your garden-variety “I’m lost” dream…
I’m driving in the car in a city, often it is in my home town, where I thought I knew my way, but suddenly I am lost and I can’t find my way home…

I’ve headed off on foot in an area where I am familiar, but suddenly find myself lost and I can’t get back…

I have parked the car and now I can’t find it….
 The other frequent dream is that my teeth are falling out. I know this dream is supposed to be symbolic of something else, but in my case, I think it really is about teeth falling out. When we were children, our parents made sure our teeth were taken care of. My mom, especially, reminded us—over and over—that it was a disgrace to loose a tooth because the teeth were not taken care of.  I had weak teeth. I spent a lot of time at the dentist.

When I was about 45, a carefully tended and much mended tooth finally had "enough" and shattered, and could not be saved. I fell apart after it was pulled, and my dearly beloved had to come and drive me home because I was so distraught.

Which brings me to the dream I had last night. Already the details are fading, but I do remember this much: 

I was in a hatchback car parked along the highway, and I had a 7-foot-tall llama with me that was wearing a halter to which was tied a long tether. The dog was with me too. She could talk. My intention, and I am not sure why I thought this would work, was to tie the llama to the back of the car and drive slowly home with the llama following behind. I told the dog to get in the car and she started to grumble about it, but did get in.

Then I turned and noticed our old family car was there too a little further down the highway (not sure where it came from or how it go there). It was sitting slightly off the road but at an angle and the hood was slightly over the white line. I thought I better move it so it wouldn’t get hit. While I was moving away, the car with the llama started up and drove itself over to a clump of trees so it would be out of the sun. I guess the dog was driving. And then I woke up.

A 7-foot-tall llama? What was that about?

Very helpfully, I found a Web site that explains (or believes that it explains) all about these things that appear in our dreams and what they mean.

“To see a llama in your dream represents deep trust, strength and endurance.”

OK. That might work. I believe I do have all of those things, although not always all at the same time.

“It may also mean that you are worrying too much and carrying too many problems.”

Oh yes, indeed… that works too. Perfect. I am worried about a few things that are rather important but are in the hands of my husband (who has very bad ADD) and which I can do nothing about.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

The things we do for love…

Although I anticipated that I was quite willingly going to fall off the New Year’s Resolution wagon before it even got hitched up and on the road, things didn’t quite work out that way.

Oh yes, we did go to McDonald’s and we did get hamburgers and french fries that tasted s-o-o-o-o- good going down….

And about 90 minutes later, I made a very quick trip to the porcelain throne in the little room off the kitchen. You can take my word for it that the hamburger and french fries did not taste quite the same on the return trip.

I finished watching the television program with Richard and then plopped myself down in the recliner because I thought maybe it would best if I just went to sleep. I have been sleeping in the recliner in the living room because the pain around my lungs isn’t so bad when I get up if I am not laying flat on my back. 

I was getting settled in, when I suddenly realized I needed to make another deposit, but I didn’t get up in time.  

It ended up on me, the blankets, the chair, the floor… not a lot... but enough.

I started to cry out of embarrassment, and there stood my dearly beloved looking at this disaster. And while I was in the shower (where I puked some more), he got a bucket of hot soapy water and ammonia and he cleaned it up.

I didn’t think I could do that, he said.

But he did. As exasperating as this man can be at times, I am so very, very glad he loves me.

So, I kept the New Year’s resolution after all that day, and I have stuck to it – so far at least.

Thursday, January 01, 2015


The first day of 2015 is drawing to a close. Many of us have made resolutions for the New Year, and a very few may actually succeed in keeping the resolution. For most of us, the resolution to change a habit, or to begin a new habit, is made with good intentions but more than likely doomed to failure.

My New Year’s resolution last night was that I was going to change my eating habits. I did not need the scale in the clinic to tell me that I have gained back almost all of the weight I worked so hard to loose. So I resolved that I was going to reduce portion sizes, eat healthy, real food (mostly fruits and vegetables), and only eat when I am feeling hungry.

Seems simple enough.

This morning Richard asked me if I wanted something special for dinner.
My response? “A McDonald’s hamburger and french fries.”

So much for the first day of 2015. I wonder how well I will do tomorrow?

Dr. Kent M. Keith wrote “The Paradoxical Commandments” back in 1968. This version was on the wall of in the examination room at the clinic,  and we were given a copy:
  • People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
  • If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
  • If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
  • If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
  • The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
  • Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
  • For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Food for thought...