September 8, 2011
August 2, 2011
June 6, 2011
May 17, 2011
April 28, 2011
March 19, 2011
Yesterday I had a visit from the Wallers: two Roseburg artists who are doing a lot of work with the Hader project. Judy (whose painting was just selected for a major touring exhibit of watercolor) had been trying to explain to me the difference between Elmer Hader’s Impressionist oil paintings and some which seemed more realistic to me. (I have NO art training.) Then we went over some of Elmer’s paintings in a small exhibit brochure, and she was pointing out the way he used patches of blues and mauves and yellows to show the different hues of snow, or the movement of water. Looking out the window at the muddy Willamette I asked her to show me any color other than brown in that river. Sure enough, she did! And gradually I was able to spot some of the changing colors in that brown wash, as well as the differences caused by the river traffic: rowing crews, a tugboat, a paddle wheeler, a tiny sailboat.
Over lunch we had talked about how animals can sense and “see” what we humans cannot, and that some senses are due to training. Fly fishermen can “see” where the fish are, and my Audubon friend could spot birds far away that were impossible to make out. Then I remember coming to Roseburg and a friend patiently teaching me to see mistletoe in the oak trees. At first it was impossible to see, and then it became impossible to miss. Training and observation.
So today I’m just going to watch the river and see how many colors show up instead of just seeing all the good growing soil washing down. It’s a good lesson for living. Isn’t there a quote somewhere about “he who has eyes but does not see?”
March 9, 2011
Besides working on getting both my legs working again, I also relearned how important people are. Not only the people who were sharing my experience, but all the ones I’ve just met recently who stopped by with words of encouragement, tidbits from their own experience, and flowers to remind me that spring is on its way. My family were wonderful about indulging my love of SCRABBLE by playing endless games to pass the time.
And it certainly was a great place to work on my book. Fortunately, I was in the edit-re-edit-re-edit phase, so I didn’t have to work on my piles of paper and files and research notes. I just had the piles of corrected manuscript printouts. It’s easier to write when someone else takes care of all life’s little details like laundry and bed making and meals! I think the Victorian men writers knew that: they always seem to have wives, or valets, or landladies who took care of the mundane details! Of course, now we have machines...but it’s not quite the same.
And I picked up a wonderful term from one of the CNAs —“buffer fat” --which is the little extra poundage that provides more resources for the body to heal as we get older. How positive. How pleasant. What a nice reminder when I look in the mirror. Even flab has its sunny side!
February 18, 2011
Last night as I was trying to get to sleep, the following doggerel came to mind. It’s silly but heartfelt.
They help me to the bathroom.
They know when I’m awake,
They chart my every bite and sip
Before they go on break.
They check my skin for bedsores
And how I breathe in bed.
And often check my vitals
Am I alive or dead?
I buzz. They come, and quickly know
Just how my senses feel.
With care like this I have no choice...
I cannot help but heal.
*Skilled nursing facility
February 10, 2011
So here I am, in the SNF (sniff or Skilled Nursing Unit) of my retirement home, where I am receiving wonderful care. I guess my body felt I hadn’t learned my lessons the first time around, so I’m back in Rehab 101. Some wonderful PTs and OTs are working my muscles, and brushing up wheelchair driving, walker walking, and transitioning skills.
Since the care part just received its last endorsement, it hasn’t taken patients from the outside yet. There are only a total of 6 patients here now, with a full complement of caring young CNNs and RNS. I never have to wait for a button push! And the food here is great—I had northwest fish potpie for lunch. My new doc is right across the street, and I DO have a lot of blessings to count—especially my family that’s been dropping in, and my new retirement friends.
But it is still the pits...not the way I planned to spend this year...
January 26, 2011
Downsizing and moving from a home of 30 plus years wasn’t easy. Fortunately I had lots of help from sons, daughters-in-law, and a granddaughter who not only helped me take my office apart, but then went to IKEA and picked out all sorts of organizers to put it together in a better way! And it is wonderful to be around my family and get to partake in their daily lives on a casual basis, without having to plan visits.
Now I’m back I’m on the sunny side. The apartment is wonderful: for the first time in my life I have rooms of my own and rooms with a view. One unplanned surprise is the achievement of a dream I had as a teenager. Then, I fell in love with a picture of Mount McKinley on the cover of a magazine, and decided I wanted to have that view every day. I went to Northwestern for education courses so I could teach in Alaska near the mountain. But I changed my love from a mountain to a man in the flat lands of Illinois and that was where life happened till we moved to the southern valleys of Oregon. MUCH later in life, my teen-age goal came true: I now live with a view of Mount St. Helens outside my window whenever she decides to show herself in this gloomy El Nino winter. I’m told I will also see Mt. Rainier on a clear day.
Now the next stage begins: embedding myself in retirement living and city life. I've gone back to Roseburg a couple of times and camped out in my unsold house—and it feels like home, even though all my “things” have gone. Seeing all my old friends is terrific. I realize what I have always known—people make a place a home, not things. After living in a friendly small town where I knew the people, the places, and the activities, I’m now in a friendly tall building where I am making new acquaintances, some of whom will undoubtedly become close. And it is wonderful to have a fitness room with trainer, a physical therapist, a swimming pool that can be used at any time, and restaurants all in one building. It certainly makes it easier to do all these good-for-you things, without spending time driving and clothes changing.
And having to rearrange everything has been interesting to say the least. Fewer places to put things doesn’t mean they are easier to find! I am learning to put them where I use them, not where I think they belong. The pliers are in a kitchen drawer where I often unscrew caps and lids--not with other tools. The sewing kit is in a drawer by the TV: if I have to mend things, that’s where I do it. I wish I hadn’t been so cute with the safe deposit keys—they’re in a super safe place—but where?
Now for the next learning adventure in the big city—getting around on public transportation. It looks easy...we’ll see.