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Three score and ten or more

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thinking about it makes me tired

What can I say right now except that this getting old business is getting old.  I am sure that I would rather, since my awareness paradigm of the alternative is still based on faith, not experience, but there have been moments since I last posted that I have wondered about the advantages of just giving up and not worrying about getting old anymore.

The week started interestingly.  My wife, due to intense pain at the time, had the lower joints of her thumbs replaced about twenty years ago.  The replacements were metal and looked a little like golf tees, and  in the last few years, they wore out.  As a result, Janet's use of her hands has been limited.  This week we had scheduled the first replacement.  Monday we drove to Savannah, to St. Joseph’s hospital where they did all the preliminary blood tests, after which we went to a nice Italian restaurant and had a nice dinner.  It was a good day, except that we were scheduled to return to the hospital the next day.   We received a communication on our arrival home that our return  was scheduled a six AM. but we should be there by five thirty to get the final paperwork completed.  The Savannah hospital is  (by odometer check) sixty three miles from our house which meant that we had to leave by about four fifteen, which meant that we had to get up by—Oh heck, you get the picture.  I got us up on time, fortifying myself by some of this five hour energy stuff you see advertised on TV to make sure I would stay awake till we arrived.  We got there on time, to find a whole bunch of folks in the waiting room for out patient surgery.  We got dirty looks from most of them when the called Janet in ahead of everyone else, but we presume that her surgeon has clout there.  I sat and read the paper while Janet was doing, or having done whatever was done back there. 

The surgery was  actually performed at eight AM precisely and they called me in to watch her recover from the block, etc. that they used for surgery.  They were not able to use a complete “put to sleep” thing because her aorta is dissected and --- well.  She finally was released a little after noon.   One of the ladies in the waiting room stated that she had finished in really short time.  I smiled and said, we have been here since five thirty, to which she replied “I have been here since five”.

We had seriously under-rated that amount of pain she would be in, so we didn’t fool around in Savannah a moment, we just headed home post haste.  I got her home, went to pick up her prescriptions  immediately, brought them home and got her narcotized and in bed as fast as possible, with her arm propped up, etc.

In the meantime, I had been working in the yard almost every day to try to get the tomatoes planted the herb garden going, etc.  Last Friday I developed a sore on the back of my leg that was really irritating.  I assumed that it was a fire-ant bite, treated it with some hydrocortisone and tried to ignore it.  By the time we got home from Savannah it was really irritating.  The one thing I did with Janet before I put her to sleep was to drop my pants and show her the sore, asking if it looked like a boil was forming.  She thought not, though she expressed real concern at the inflammation. 

The nest morning, as I got out of the shower, it felt even more sore, and I had acquire some sores a little higher up, in the most sensitive of places.  I showed it to Jan again (not the sensitive places) and she observe that she though I had shingles.  I should call the Dr.  I did, and after narrating a description of the problem she got me an appointment that afternoon.  I have been just about worthless since that time.  Shingles, particularly in some of the places I have shingles, is not a pleasant experience, and if one more person says to me “Why didn;t you get the shots?”  There may be an instant assassination or attempt thereof.

We are scheduled to go into our timeshare at Hilton Head Sunday evening and part of me is rejoicing that there is little to do there but sit in the balcony and look at the Inland Waterway, or loll in the couch or the bed watching the forty six inch flat panel TV’s that litter the place.  The other part of me is worried about being away from home in a lot of pain and frustration,  (I am wondering if I can use the swimming pool etc, the way I am, and though Janet has a neat little blow-up envelope that she is supposed to be able to take into the pool, will she still be in such pain that she can’t.)

Life gets tegus some times, don’t it?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Earth Day??

Well, the forty somthingth Earth Day has drawn to a close.  I remember the first one.  I had designed the setting for a   play  for which the opening was fast approaching and we had hired an outside director to come in and direct the show.  It was a major work day to get the setting finished, but  students were released from all activities that day and I was working on the stage by myself, starting at about 7:30 AM.  I was much discouraged and disgusted, but I kept at it because it was my  first year at Georgia Southern.

( When I was a student at Idaho State College students had invented a  parody “fight song” with the words “Far above the Portneuf  River standing here are we, In an old abandoned outhouse known as ISC”)

As I finished hauling a bunch scenery in place I found myself parodying the parody and singing loudly “Far above Ogechee’s waters  slaving here are we, In an Old abandoned outhouse known as GSC”.  I heard from out in the auditorium a scream of “What did you say?”  One of the old institutionally famous faculty members had wandered into McCroan Auditorium and overheard my serenade.  He rushed to the stage and berated me thoroughly , not pausing to listen to a work of my explanation/apology and he then rushed to the College President’s office to reports me.

I began to wonder if I should call Janet and advise he to  start packing when the College President (Whose office  was next to the Auditorium lobby).  He gently asked me what I had sung and why, that irritated  my colleague form the Math Department so much.

I explained that, due to  Earth Day, I had been working without student help all day (it was about 4:30 in the afternoon) and that my deadline was  almost up, and I sang him the song.   He chuckled, told me to be careful around the “old landmarks” of the college, and told me not to worry about it.  He had sometimes felt the same way.

I will remember that Earth Day for a long time. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Silly ruminations

This is a country that drives on the right side of the street.  In many of our activities the right side is dominant, including the spot where one can make a turn on a red light after a complete stop.  Has any one but me ever thought about the reasoning at Wal-Mart, many supermarkets and malls etc. that have you enter on the left side and exit on the right side?  It sort of walks against a natural imperative.  (One of my sons is left handed.  He probably thinks that it is about time he got the right of way—can the left hand side be the right of way or should we call it the left of way?)

Have you ever wished, as I do, that companies would adopt some standard of size and power of battery chargers and power supplies for electronic gizmos.  I have a cardboard box full of battery chargers and power supplies, and every time I decide I am going to  take the darn things either to the dump or to GoodWill, something happens that I have to root through the box through the box to compare connectors battery sizes, voltage and milliamps to find something that is absolutely crucial.

I had four or five other silly things I wanted to write about but, having sat down at the computer my old coot brain won’t remember what they were until I have finished to post and posted it.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Getting older all the time (Which, I guess, is probably a good thing).

One of the reasons I started this blog was to trace (and tell about) some of the experiences that happen on the way to Coothood.  One thing that is irritating right now is the persistence of Song tunes and lyric (in little bits)

When I was younger I used to have the advantage of singing a lot.  I sang solos in church (I even made a little money singing in some other churches), I have had singing/speaking roles in a few dozen musical plays operetta and operas as well as choirs church choirs, Community choirs, college choirs, you name it.  I even sang with a band for a little while, and have been the chorister and/or choir director for several different Mormon congregations.

In all of this, I have learned (and partially forgotten) a myriad of tunes and lyrics.  My complaint now, is that they run through my head constantly.  Today I have been humming and thinking a hymn (I believe, but am not sure that its title is THE HOLY CITY.)  

The phrases that have been running through my mind “Jerusalem Jerusalem, lift up your voice and sing.  Hosanna to the Highest, Hosanna to your king”  ( and a lot more, but I won’t bore you with printed lyrics)  then suddenly I was singing (under my breath) “The itsy bitsy spider ran up the water spout, down came the rain and washed the spider out. Up came the sun and dried up all the rain, and the itsy bitsy spider, ran up the spout again.”

Last night while I was trying to go to sleep I couldn’t get rid of “You dig sixteen tons, and what do you get? A little bit older and deeper in debt.”  I even remember most of the lyrics to that one.  Spirituals “ DEEP RIVER, JOSHUA FIT THE BATTLE OF JERICO, EZEKIAL SAW THE WHEEL.

The most frustrating thin is that I usually can remember about half or less of every thing.  It is often a lot less classical.   A quartet, that I was in, in high school used to go round to  men’s organizations and sing.  We usually concluded  with about twenty  limericks with less than clean lyrics tied together with a connecting chorus “That was a very fine song, sing us another one, voom tiddly voom tiddley, voom tiddly voom.”  Unfortunately I can remember most of them word for word,

Other tunes that plague my are the ones we sang on busses as we traveled to “football games” , choir concerts, etch.  I remember all the words of TWENTY ONE BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL.

For a while, when I would sing a phrase or two of a song that I didn’t’ remember I would Google the phrase and usually come up with a complete lyric, and sometimes a UTUBE performance  but that took up too much time.

I wonder how many old coots remember songs like that (One of my teachers used to call them “Ear wigs).  If not , they probably come up with other half remembers experiences from their past.

What is most frustrating is that I remember so many thing (as least in patches) and frequently can’t remember the name of friend (which is most irritating when you are talking to the friend.

Saturday, April 07, 2012


When I first started this blog, I expressed the desire to explain what happens when one gets to be “three score and ten-or more years old”  The way this blog has been posted for the past year is, unfortunately a fair example of what happens as one gets older. 

I think I was seventy two years old when I started.  I am now creeping up on seventy eight years old..  I am amazed at what has happened to me (well, not really happened to, but evolved within) in that  period.  When this began, it was great fun, and some days, I could hardly wait to get to the computer to write about my political opinions,  deal with the days events, or post things that I had already written (including one story that I had sold to a magazine, and though they paid me for it, they had never published it)  I had already begun a memoir which I called “WHAT i CAN REMEMBER AND WHAT i CAN FIGURE OUT” and the blog gave me an opportunity to put things out for my family and friends to read that I thought they would never seen if it stayed bound in a file folder in a file cabinet that probably would be emptied into the round file when I finally pass along. 

Now, I fill up during the day with stories I want to tell or experiences that I want to share, and when I sit at the computer, my mind is a blank slate.  I end up playing solitaire, and reading Facebook, even making occasional comments.

I started a second- half story of my son Eric, following up the first story that I posted right after his death, but it is so much harder to write stuff that is dependent on what he told me, what his teacher told me, the experiences in which interacted with my students.   Now, thinking has become a chore.  I am amazed at how much television I watch.  (Not having a really good memory is occasionally an asset, when one watches the seven thousandth episode of NCIS, it makes more sense if you can’t really remember what happened the first three times you saw the show) I would spend a lot more time reading my favorite blogs but so many of the writers of my favorite blogs have suspended action (and most of them aren’t even creeping up on seventy seven years old)  I do appreciated the blog written  by one of my father’s sisters.  She posts at least once a week and she’s almost ten years older than I.

There are so many things I would like to expound on:  As early as four years ago, I expressed the feeling that I would like to see some kind of revision in the health system in our country.  I think Obama-care is a disaster waiting to happen and cannot favor that.  It is clear that a lot of it  absolutely terrible, and nothing that is voted on by a congress who hasn’t had time or effort to even know what it is voting on, has a chance to be anything but a scam.  On the other hand, The CO-PAYMENTS  on my prescriptions are about two hundred bucks a month.  If I didn’t have a good retirement and insurance, the prescriptions would cost thousands, and I would just have to give up on that.  While we were in Finland for Jan’s surgery a few years ago, I bought almost exactly the same medicine in the “non-socialized” pharmacies in that country for less than I now pay in co-payments,  Down deep in my heart I am afraid that, if he had had insurance, I would bet that  some kind of treatment for Eric’s lung cancer would have been available that might have kept him with us for a few years.

Another unrelated issue, I really honor the work of the “Wounded Warrior Project”, but it infuriates me that it is necessary, that

the country doesn’t provide enough help to wounded soldiers who were wounded in their country’s service.  As fiscally conservative as I am, there are some debts that our country mush pay out of the treasury. 

Back to getting old:  I am astonished at the difference in both my mind and body between the time I started writing this, and now.  No matter how I try, I can’t pick up a thirty pound sack of almost anything and move it.  I can’t do any kind of labor above my eye level without danger of falling.  Since I started acupuncture, I and walk across the back yard with out a cane or without great pain, but I can’t stand in line for tickets or at the post office without being ready for a pain killer en just a few moments

I worked all day in the garden Thursday, and successfully planted four strawberry plants, four tomato plants a a Mandeville.   My garden is an eight foot by eight foot raised bed, and at the rate I am going I should have it all planted by the fourth of July..  I will try to post more frequently and to whine less about it, but I make no promises .