For those of you interested Only in TRAVEL, I (Jack) wrote the blog between MARCH 2010 and October 2010 during our travels west. We saw the most beautiful places and had the best time in our big truck and little trailer. See Blog Archive below.

Feb 27, 2014

OMIGOSH (Don't Know How This Happened--it was actually published in 2012)

Flying Over America! Great Video

I'm in Trouble

When Bogey was here he taught me this neat trick. When we were hanging out, he was telling me the things he does to make Michael and Laura go crazy. Nancy thought we were just chewing our bones in the bed, but that's when we were plotting.
Bogey looks innocent, but he's just waiting for Nancy to leave so he can push that gate aside--see how she left it open?
"Really, so garbage is the best? Better than my sweet potato chips?"
See, he waits until everyone is out of the house and then he looks for things that taste good. Kitchen garbage is his favorite. I had no idea the goodies in the garbage tasted so good. So, tonight I decided to try it on my own. I didn't wait until Nancy went out, so she heard me. It was a disappointment because there wasn't anything but paper in the bag, so I didn't get anything tasty like Bogey does. That didn't matter to Nancy, she was shocked. Big's just a bag for crying out loud!

What a mess I made. Nancy said she should have taken a picture of it to make me feel ashamed or hung garbage around my neck. That wouldn't have worked. Why she even called me a slow learner because she thinks I didn't learn to wag my tail until I was nine years old. Well, that's not true...I just didn't want to wag my tail. So there.

Bogey even eats pens and eye glasses and other things that could hurt him so Nancy clears the room and locks us in when he visits.

He did get manage to get into trouble when he was here last time when she left one gate open by mistake. He's still a kid and he gives himself away, and he acts ashamed and sorry when she hollers at him. Nancy had no idea I was in on the caper, too.
This was in a post a week or so ago--Bogey so dumb--he gives himself away.
Nancy rarely yells at me, but she was mad, tonight. It doesn't really bother me because I decided the best course of action is to act bored and not look at her when she is hollering at me. Bogey may have paid attention when Nancy scolded him, but I'm master of this place and I refuse to look like I'm sorry. So, snap away, Nancy, I'm not going to look.
Actually, yes I might do it again if you must know.
Still not going to look.
She got bored after a while and put the camera away. She's talking to me, again. I have to teach Bogey how to handle her.

Feb 25, 2014

THIS (Video)

I have no doubt that it will touch many hearts, especially those who have been care givers.

No pictures needed.

Feb 15, 2014

Bogey :)

I sorry, Nancy, I eated your loaf of bread and Susie's panties that I took from her suitcase.

I have to clear the room and confine Bogey and Jack when I leave the house. Bogey is a GARBAGE HOUND! My mistake; I missed one gate. He must check them as soon as I leave. He gives himself away. I can tell he's been up to something by the guilty look.

Late last night I put them both out. It was raining so Jack didn't waste any time. He came back in, I dried him off, then he barked to go out, again. I opened the door and he stood inside scanning the yard. I know what was going through his head. "Where's Bogey?" Knowing Bogey, he was just exploring and would come in when he wanted to come in so I closed the door, again. Again, Jack barked. I opened it and he scanned the yard whimpering. So, I called Bogey (who is the fastest dog on earth). He came running from way in the back of the yard through the door and did a Kramer sliding all the way from the back of the house to the front. Such a character. Loves to get toweled off. Actually, he likes to do anything Jack does. 

He gets treated like a prince while he's here, but the minute Michael returns, it's like he doesn't know me and can't wait to get in the car to go home. He's as loyal as he can be. Nice to see in a dog.

Feb 14, 2014

Born Again Walker!!

It's been four years of pain, but guess what! I am walking and standing without pain. Yes!!! The surgeon dismissed me from his care to a pain clinic with the exact same pain I started with. (After having an MRI, it was determined that my back was unstable, and surgery was a must.) Not really expecting any resolution from the pain clinic after trying so many things including the surgery, I went as a last resort. Family and friends urged me to go. The first visit a month ago was an introduction to the practice; the second was for injections.

There I met the most wonderful young woman (seemed impossible that she could be a doctor--they get younger every year!). Everyone from the front desk to the treatment room was wonderful, but Dr. Clingan was incredible. She LISTENED to me. She listened to me as though I knew what I was talking about.

She said the initial plan was for nerve blocks. However, after talking for a few moments and reading over my forms, she said, "Your description is like reading a 'text book' for where I think I should insert the needles. Will you sign additional consent forms to change the treatment?"

I said, "Go for it!"

Dr. Clingan was kind, pleasant, and very gentle. If I understood correctly, there's a sort of canal between the spine and the pelvic bone that leads to a pocket on both sides. She said she would inject (I'm fairly sure it was Cortizone--I know she told me, but I forgot) and flood the pocket with it and pain medication. The worst of the process was the sting of the pain med that went away in exactly 3 seconds as she said it would. I was excited that it was something different and a completely new approach, but truthfully, didn't have great expectations. Could such an easy procedure do anything after I'd been through MRIs, a Myelogram, physical therapy, major surgery, aquatic therapy, and narcotics--all without helping the pain? I didn't know, but something told me that I was in the hands of a very smart, empathetic, young woman. My orders were to go home and rest for 24 hours.

I was wheeled down to where my friend was to meet me to drive me home. Poor Gail. She and I both expected to be walking out, together, but unbeknownst to me they had told her she could go get the car and meet us in the front of the building. Well, not realizing that she would have to navigate the maze that I've come to know, she had forgotten that we went through one building to get to another from the parking garage. The nurse was just about to turn around to see if we could find her at another entrance when I saw her--with a rather harried look on her face. She had been assisted by a couple of gentleman from one place to another to find the car to no avail. I was still a little sedated so I was a little mixed up, myself. I had left my purse (and phone) with her so there was no way I could let her know where we were. I was grateful that she had done me the favor of taking me so felt badly that she had to run all over creation. I owe her a lunch, for sure! Good friends are invaluable.

So, that was on Monday. This is Friday. I HAVE NOT HAD PAIN--even without taking anything more than Aleve. The reason I'm taking it is because my upper back hurts plus it's an anti-inflammatory that I've been taking since my initial visit. I think the upper back pain has been disguised by the narcotics so I didn't know it was there until I stopped taking them two weeks ago (it's more of a muscle ache than debilitating pain). I return to see Dr. Clingar in five weeks for a follow up.

I went for a walk at the mall, today. No pain. I got ready for our "storm of the century" the day after getting the shots. No pain, and I did a lot of standing and walking to prepare for the power outage that everyone said we would have. Getting flashlights, stocking up on food, running to the hardware store, getting gas for the generator, etc. Fortunately, we didn't have to use it.
That's the Generator Under the Tarp - Fancy set up, huh?
I feel as though the excitement I feel is not getting across in my writing, but to be honest I'm still pinching myself and waiting for the "other shoe" to drop. I had just about dropped out of life. Then, the day after the shots I brushed my teeth and showered and I wasn't in excruciating pain for standing that long. I am in such disbelief that I am almost afraid to be happy, but happy I am! NO PAIN!

Life is very different without pain. Seems like colors are brighter, my brain isn't so foggy, I have hope, and I'm thinking in terms of the future, again. It seems like a lifetime ago that I felt this way. I owe this rebirth to one young woman who cares for her patients and LISTENS.

And, no, I haven't forgotten a picture of Jack. We've had his nephew, Bogey, visiting for the last couple of weeks. Here they are settling in to ride out the storm. They look nervous, don't they?

Feb 7, 2014

Our City Has Made AEDs Available in All Police Patrol Cars

In our small city, alone, five people have been saved in a fairly short period of time. Now, there's a grass roots movement to have them in every public building. I hope there comes a day when no one has to say and think the words I've said and thought over and over again, "If only..."

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation

Feb 6, 2014

One of the Best Descriptions of Grief I've Ever Read

Sent to Me by Our lovely Granddaughter, Keely.
“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter”. I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.

As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months or years, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”…G. Snow (as far as I can find)