In Sickness and in Health: May 24, 2019

Again, I write these blogs about my wife’s condition seeking neither sympathy or advise. The sole purpose is to keep the family and her friends up to speed on the latest changes, good or bad. Oh, and for my own mental health. There’s that.

Mother’s Day has come and gone. The kids came out and spent some time with their mom. I appreciated it. Not sure Ruth Ann knew what the occasion was. Pretty sure she did not. My fear is that it will be the last Mother’s Day that she will know who they are.
This evening, we were sitting on the deck with a nice breeze blowing, temps a little over eighty, but comfortable. I had some chicken on the grill with beans and slaw in the fridge, a simple meal. That’s about all I can deal with anymore. I’ve lost my ambition to be much of a cook.

I made some comment about our son. Something to do with his proposed camping trip this weekend. Ruth Ann says, “Who are we talking about?”
“Our son, you do remember his name, don’t you?” I get that all too familiar look these days, the one of confusion and fear, a fear that she’s forgotten something very important.
“It starts with an M,” I prompt. No reply.
“M-A.” Still nothing.
“M-A-R”. She’s drawing a blank. I think I’ve mentioned before about the old Mike Tyson joke where somebody claims Mike couldn’t spell “CAT” if you spotted him a C and an A. It’s no longer funny. Mike might have  Alzheimer’s.
“M-A-R…M? she asks.

Another alarming incident took place yesterday. She comes back to my office space and declares that she has been to her friend’s house one block over, but that her friend wasn’t home. “The dogs were glad to see me,” she said. The friend has two large dogs, one being a Pit Bull. RA went inside the fence with the dogs. Luckily the Pit is as gentle as a lamb. But for all she knew it wasn’t or maybe her friend had taken in a new dog. Could have gotten ugly. I had no idea she’d gone anywhere. This hasn’t happened before. Up to now, she’s always told me when she’s going for a walk. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I’ll volunteer to go with her. Either that or she tells me exactly what street she’s going down. That 99% just changed to 100%.

Two days later: She did it again. I was reading on the deck and when I looked up, she was gone. I drove to the friend’s house. She hadn’t seen her. Found her a couple blocks over just walking along the street. It could easily have been Highway 97.

But what really broke my heart recently was yet another incident, one of those that makes tears in your eyes. One that I’ve heard about with dementia patients but haven’t as yet seen. I was talking about saving money and made the wisecrack, “Your daddy would have driven across town to save a nickel.” She smiled. “I know. I need to go see him.” I felt the air leave my body. I came up behind her and held her close. “Honey, your daddy passed on years ago. But we still talk about him and remember him.”

She wanted to argue the point. “No, I’ll show you. Get in the car.”

Within the past week, she insisted that Clint Eastwood was dead. “I just saw it on TV. He died. He gave his car to a neighbor boy.” She was referring to the movie Gran Torino. When Mark was here, she said Neal Diamond was dead. Mark went to Alexa. The robotic voice proclaimed that Neal Diamond was alive and well and gave his age. No, he’s dead. I know he is. End of argument.

As to the ongoing urine problem, my least favorite subject, she’s been doing much better. For the past few weeks we’ve been getting by with one catheter a day, but every day, and always at bedtime. To me, this confirms that at least a great portion of this symptom is mental. I once voiced an opinion that her bladder does not wear a watch. It does not have eyes to tell daylight from dark. It does not have a plumbing crew that goes off duty at 10:30 every evening. Big mistake and a complete waste of breath and did nothing but make her mad. Too often, I can’t seem to put the brakes on my innate sarcasm in time to stop. It’s like a twisted version of the adage; Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and it annoys the pig. Same with dementia.

I’m getting tired. The duties keep piling up. Laundry, cooking, cat care, house cleaning, kitchen cleanup after every meal, the lawn, grocery shopping, home repair, and on and on. The mental part, the caregiving, is also having an effect. I have to watch everything I say so that it doesn’t offend or irritate her. The irritation causes stress and stress is another source of her urinary problems. A flare-up follows and here we go again. It’s like taking care of a six-year-old. For example:

The doctors have repeatedly told me (and her for whatever good that does) that she should avoid acidic drinks, namely Cokes and orange juice, two of her favorite beverages. After many verbal battles, I finally drew the line and insisted there be no more Coke or oranges in the house. Well, guess what? Over a few weeks’ time, her urinary problems diminished, drastically so. I was getting a full night’s sleep. No more two a.m. and four a.m. and six a.m. catheters. Just the one at bedtime when the aforementioned plumbers shut down. This was great, until a week ago at the grocery store when she stops me at the checkout line. “I forgot something.” Minutes pass and then here she comes down the aisle with a carton of Coke. I felt like the daddy whose little girl threatens to throw a hissy fit. “I WANT IT!!!” She got her way and I’ve regretted it since then.

Even though I am an only child and somewhat of a loner that enjoys his solitude, I feel like a single parent with only a child for a companion. These days, a talk with Ruth Ann is like talking to the cats. The response is about the same. I try to talk about the old days when she and her sisters were small. Things she might remember, dolls, a ride in the car, pleasant times. Her usual reply is, “I remember that.” But she seldom elaborates. She simply can’t find the words to express herself. It is heartbreaking.

Some days are better, some are worse. My caregiving skills, whatever I have left, are fading as well. Not sure how much longer either of us can continue with this.

The Times They Are A-Changin’. Bob Dylan

Published in: on May 24, 2019 at 7:43 pm  Comments (2)  

In Sickness and in Health: March 29, 2019

Came across this today.  It hit me pretty hard.

Do not ask me to remember,

Don’t try to make me understand.

Let me rest and know you’re with me.

Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I’m confused beyond your concept.

I am sad and sick and lost.

All I know is that I need you

To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me.

Do not scold or curse or cry.

I can’t help the way I”m acting,

Can’t be different though I try.

Just remember that I need you.

That the best of me is gone.

Please don’t fail to stand beside me,

Love me ’til my life is done

by Owen Darnell

Published in: on March 29, 2019 at 2:18 pm  Comments (1)  

Go With the Flow

It’s raining as we speak. Three-quarters of an inch in less than an hour. What the old folks used to call a toad strangler. It’s letting up, but the view out my back window is less than encouraging, downright depressing in fact. There must be one or more inches of standing water in the lawn. Why the depression you ask? I’ll tell you why. It’s because I’m shelling out some major big bucks to some landscapers to fix that little problem.

The workmen showed up around noon yesterday knowing full well that the forecast was for rain that night. The job consisted of installing a French drain along the length of my driveway. It’s a fairly wide driveway.  Two downspouts from the roof add to the problem. Over the years, the grass and topsoil have slowly migrated toward the storm drain at the bottom of the slope, ending up, I suspect, somewhere in the middle of the Arkansas River.

For those unfamiliar with a French drain, it consists of a trench with a gravel bed, a plastic pipe with holes in it, covered by more gravel. The water seeps down through the gravel and enters the pipe where it’s then sent along the intended path to a safe discharge area. That’s the theory.

In addition to the French drain in front, the rest of the job consisted of a layer of dirt in the back of the house covered with Bermuda sod. The idea was to grade the new dirt at such an angle as to let the rainwater move away from the house and drain from there as it normally does, albeit poorly. Did I mention that I have more than an inch of standing water at that very spot, at this very moment?

The guys knocked off work around six last night and headed for the bar. I’m not sure that’s where they went, but I know what I’d do. Left to do was spread a truckload of dirt, fill the French drain with gravel (they did get the pipe in), and lay out the sod. Forecast? Heavy early morning thunderstorms. Did the boys know this? Did their boss know this? It was common knowledge. I’m sure all of them had iPhones with a weather app. Did they stick around using every drop of daylight to get the material in place? Noooo, they did not.

I awoke to sounds of thunder, dark skies, and the occasional flash of lightning. The crew arrived shortly after eight o’clock. Thirty minutes later, the deluge began. They gave it a few minutes, saw the futility of waiting it out, and headed back to the bar. I’m standing at the front door, watching the drainage ditch at the bottom of the slope rapidly rise with flood waters, much higher than usual even with that much rain. Now it’s backing up and forming a small lake on my neighbor’s property.  Uh, oh. The next thing I see is my neighbor’s pickup pulling in my driveway. He does not look happy.

We discuss the matter. He opines that the storm drain might be partially clogged due to the activity at the bottom of the slope. I was quick to agree with this. Truth be told, my theory is that added flow from the new French drain is more than the storm pipe can handle.

Having given this considerable thought, I’ve come to the conclusion there is only one logical course of action; get in my truck, find the bar where those guys went, and join them.

Published in: on March 29, 2019 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Cat Crisis

If you are at all familiar with the daily routines of my humble abode, you will know that a cat crisis is not unusual, not one bit. In fact, they happen almost like clockwork. A cat crisis is defined as a cat going unseen by human eyes for any measurable amount of time. If the big hand makes more than sixty ticks on the clock without the patter of little claws or a whiny meow, it’s 911 time. Alert the media. Post a feline Amber Alert.

OMG. Missing Cat. If you see this cat, or any cat, call the Sheriff’s Office immediately.

If not for the cost and the questionable results, I would equip each of the three little darlings with a GPS tracker. Maybe someday.

I know when a full crisis mode, a Cat-Con 4, is in effect by reading the body language so evident with the Missus; the furrowed brow, the quick glances behind the many nooks and crannies, the quivering, anxiety-filled voice.

Kitty, kitty, kitty? Where are you?

My failure to realize the severity of the situation does not go unnoticed.

Are you just gonna sit there? Why aren’t you helping me look?

No matter how much I try, I cannot stay neutral in these things. Either way, there will be consequences.

Such was the case just last evening. The Brat Cat was missing…again. To add to the urgency, it was dark, way past her curfew. Very unusual for this cat, unless the weather is warm, which it was, and which I tried to point out to the Missus. I may as well have been talking to the wind.

I join the search, probing all the usually hidey-holes; the garage, under the cars, under the table, behind the curtains, the closets, the laundry room…no Brat Cat.

She must be outside. Oh, oh. The poor little thing.

I grab a light jacket, get the flashlight, and here I go again. Geez. I no sooner get outside to look for a furry lump in the street when a neighbor pulls hurriedly out of his driveway. Is he going for the law? Is he moving his wife and children to a safe place, away from the axe murderer wandering up and down the neighborhood looking for victims? Fearing red lights and sirens, I pick up the pace, but no. No lumps. No cats.

As bedtime approaches, I sense a movement at the window. Yep, it’s the Brat Cat.

“I’ve been so worried. Where have you been, sweetie?” the Missus laments.

I have a theory about that. We have an opossum that appears on a nightly basis. He (and I’m sure it’s a he…wait for it) searches the ground beneath the bird feeders long about dark thirty for any overlooked sunflower seeds. This same possum, I am quite sure, lives beneath our patio deck when he’s not raiding the feeders. I know this because, when startled, he makes a dive for a gap between the ground and the bottom of the deck. This same gap, the very same one, is also used by the Brat Cat when she’s hiding. Are you getting the picture? Yes, evidence suggests that the possum and the Brat Cat are having forbidden sex under the patio. Why else would the cat break curfew and not return home for a tasty meal at suppertime? Of course, she’s ashamed of it. Why wouldn’t she be? Inter-species sex? Just as much a taboo here as anywhere in the world. Well, maybe not quite as much in Oklahoma.

What to do? We forgive her of course. We respect her choices and try to understand. But when it comes to “coming out” we just wish she would come in.

Published in: on March 9, 2019 at 1:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Netflix flickers

Since I hear about as well as a fence post, I love the chat lines when I want to report a problem. I watch a lot of Netflix, but lately, many of the streaming movies have been interrupted with that madding little spinning circle that reads 25%. It’s a common problem as a Google search will verify, but I had nothing better to do and hit the CHAT box on the Netflix site. I was informed that I was chatting with Zeus. Wow, Zeus, the ruler of the Greek Olympian gods! If Zeus can’t fix it, nobody can. Right?

I opened with a statement of the problem, what my download speed was (119.7 Mbps) and that my router was hardwired to my Samsung Smart TV. Zeus asked if it happened on some movies or all of them. I had to admit that I had not watched every movie on Netflix. Bad start. According to his troubleshooting chart, my next step was to unplug the TV. I told him my entire house was without power for two hours a couple days ago and would that count?

Zeus next asked how old my TV was? I made a stab at it. Four years old? Well, it seems Netflix has access to the age of your device and Zeus informed me that mine was NOT four olds, but a 2013 model. Ok, five years old, maybe five and half. You got me on that one, Zeus.

He goes on to say that “older” model TV’s sometimes have this problem. I asked Zeus what he considered an older model to be and how new a TV would I have to buy to end these hangups. There was a long pause. Zeus is typing read the chat box.

While I waited, I typed that this was a common problem and what have others done to rectify it? Answer: There is no increase with call volumes reporting about the same concern but this issue is very common with older devices reason why I initially asked some specifics about the device and looked into the manufacturer date.

Hmm. Is Zeus getting a little testy? Maybe it’s the Latin to English translation.

Ding. Finally, the solution: We recommend devices any device manufactured 2014 and above but Device manufacturers releases updates so frequently so I advised get the latest device manufactured on the current year.

There you have it. Problem solved. All I need to do is buy a new TV. Maybe a 70 inch job, one of those OLED models, yeah, that’s the ticket. Thank you, Zeus. You are a God.

Published in: on January 28, 2019 at 1:58 pm  Comments (1)  

In Sickness and in Health. January, 2019

Not much news and what there is, is discouraging…but not unexpected. Had a minor revelation with Ruth’s bladder problem and the urine retention when one of the urology nurses told me I’d been doing the catheters all wrong. Up until now, I was waiting for Ruth to give up on using the bathroom by herself and keep trying until she was in pain. Now I’m told to do the cath 4 or 5 times a day, before the pain starts. Well, nobody never splain that to me before although it makes sense.

So that’s what were doing. For the first week or so, after the latest instill where the medics inject medicine for inflammation directly into the bladder, she was doing pretty good. No crying. No bending over with her hand on her abdomen. No baby steps. No distorted facial features. But in the last few days, the old symptoms are popping up again. I called a family meeting. We all sat down, me, the Missus, and the cats, while I explained the rules.

Ruth, from now on, whenever you feel the urge to go and you can’t, come to me right then, don’t wait until you’re hurting, and say, “Oh, husband of mine. Oh, love of my life, I hate to ask this again, but I need to drain the swamp.”
I will reply, “Not a problem. There’s nothing around here that can’t wait, there’s nothing so important as keeping you as pain free as possible.”

Not working. Even though I’ve repeated those words at least a dozen times over a period of several days now, she doesn’t get it. She still won’t come to me when the natural plumbing fails. I guess the next step is to do a cath at regular intervals whether she says anything about the swamp or not.

The medics also tell me that after a couple more instills, they will try a new kind of medication, and from there, maybe a steroid, but only once a month with that. Then and only then will they consider stretching the bladder, a procedure that requires anesthesia. Failing that, the doctor proposes a permanent cath where they make an incision in the skin and hang a tube out of it. I told his nurse that knowing Ruth as I do, that will drive her nuts and possibly into deep depression. I just can’t see that working with her mental condition.

If the bladder problem wasn’t enough to deal with, the dementia is worsening. She now has problems distinguishing between the refrigerator and the freezer. Cooking utensils end up in places where they’ve never lived before. The other day I caught her eating ice cream out of the cat dish. “What, it’s clean,” she said.

An hour ago, she wanted a sandwich. However, her favorite bread was in the freezer. I popped out a couple of slices and nuked them for about ten seconds. Problem solved. Later, I hear the microwave come on and go off and come on and go off. She was taking slices of bread out of the package, two at a time, and heating them.

She confuses toilet paper with paper towels which could explain why I’ve had to clear a couple of stopped up toilets lately.

Some common objects around the house are becoming baffling to her. She can still use the remote for the TV, but barely. If a wrong button is pushed, she has to call in technical help…me.

Her short-term memory has been bad for quite a while, but now the long-term memory is slipping away. She doesn’t know how old she is, not the day or the month or the year of her birthday. She doesn’t know how long she’s been married and often can’t tell me my middle name. She doesn’t know her address or phone number. She can’t remember what number to dial for an emergency. If I have a heart attack, I am sooo screwed.

With the dementia and the bladder problem, it’s all quite difficult to deal with. But still doable…so far.

Published in: on January 17, 2019 at 4:00 pm  Comments (1)  

A Little Christmas Story

I have yet to master the common skills of a homemaker. I do a little cooking, a little cleaning. I tidy up. I run a mop over the tile now and then. Grocery shopping? I suck at it. I go two or three times a week, always forgetting half of what I need. Yes, I make a list, a scrawling illegible list (even by me), but since I don’t have the good sense to plan any meals ahead of time, I go with the get-it-when-you-need-it method. And so it was that on Christmas day, there was nary a drop of milk in the house. I could have driven to the little Stop and Save a half-mile down the road, but being raised as I was to save every penny no matter the inconvenience, I headed to Walmart.

I didn’t think Walmart ever closed, even on Christmas, but there it was, shut down and dark, a ghost store. The only car in the lot besides mine? a lonely, slow-moving police car. We passed like two ships in the night, a wave from me, a nod of the head from him. So, it was Plan B after all. Pay the jacked up prices at the Quick Trip or go home. My mama would have been ashamed of me, poor planning and wasting money in such a manner.  Boy, I taught you better than that.

On the way home, as I came to the entrance of a park that leads to the river, I jerked the wheel left for a quick drive-through, hoping to catch sight of an eagle along the bank. Eagles are good for the soul. They can uplift your spirit. And I needed a little uplifting. I hadn’t gone but maybe a hundred yards when I notice a  car with a sloping hood behind me, close behind me, too close. I don’t know what kind. Maybe a Taurus. I think it was a Taurus. It was an older model, whatever it was, with one mismatched front fender. Now I’m doing what I suppose is the standard speed limit for a park like that… 20-25 mph? But it sure wasn’t fast enough for Mr. Taurus, not by a long shot. The dude was in a hurry. To do what? Go to the end of the road and turn around?

C’mon, man. It’s Christmas. We’re in a park. A quiet place. A place to relax, to unwind, to watch the squirrels and the children play. Look over there! It’s a little girl with a brand new bicycle from Santa Claus. Back off, you jerk. But no, he stays with me, still close. I keep my speed. At one point, I glance up at the mirror and he’s gone. Must have taken the side road leading to the baseball diamonds. Good riddance. I stop at the river and take a good look around, scanning the banks and trees. No eagles. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

Heading out, I glance to my left and there’s Mr. Taurus, off the street, his front end in a ditch, and the ditch is full of water.  Three or four people are standing around, supposedly considering what to do next. As everyone looked more pissed off than anxious, I assumed no one was injured. Looking it over, my guess was that Mr. Taurus had been speeding down the winding narrow parkway and missed that last little curve.

Couldn’t help it. I felt a grin coming on. One of those half-smiles,  one of those half-smug smiles that you get when justice is done. A smile you get when the bully gets his lights punched out by the skinny kid who just happens to be the best boxer at the gym. That kind of smile. Sort of like the Grinch. Yeah, that’s it, the Grinch smile. Why not? Hey, man, it’s Christmas.


The old man in the Honda?

As he drove out of sight

some heard him say

Merry Christmas, you jerk

and call Triple A.




Published in: on December 28, 2018 at 3:55 pm  Comments (2)  

My day so far (and it’s only noon).

It started at 6:41 a.m. I know this because the caller I.D. said so. It also told me the call was from an old friend that has never in his life called me at 6:41 a.m. unless he was near death or in jail. It had to be serious. I jerk the receiver off the hook so quickly that the short cord hits its limit and yanks the phone off the stand crashing into the bed frame and assorted knick-knacks. And yes, I still use a corded phone. I look at it like a pencil and paper, it seldom fails.

Turns out it was a butt dial. I made the assumption on the noises that people make while moving around the house at 6:41 a.m., slow and bumping into things. My wall phone has never butt-dialed anyone in its life. Not once.

I put the coffee on and quick step outside to fetch the morning paper, another tradition I refuse to give up even though the paper gets smaller by the month. No paper. This only one day removed from when I sent the carrier a Christmas card with a little something inside and declaring him “the best carrier ever!”  I refuse to try and read more than a headline or two using the Kindle app. I don’t need that kind of frustration that early.

Back inside, I hear the white cat, aka shithead, clawing at my brand new carpet. I scream profanities while searching for any kind of heavy object to hurl in her direction even if the cat does have but three legs. All that means to me is that I don’t have to lead her as far. It was during her feline retreat that she snags yet another phone cord, this one to a wireless base, dragging everything; remotes, coasters, and even more knick-knacks, to the floor.

I’m working on a second cup of coffee for my already jangled nerves when I notice the Missus is about to pour coffee on her morning bowl of cereal. She was not the least bit appreciative when I pointed out how milk might be a better choice. I asked her if she knew that our 59th wedding anniversary was almost here and did she know what date it fell on. She did not. Sigh.

I have a doctor’s appointment at 10:30. Why you ask. Thanks for asking. It’s a routine visit, one I’ve been making about every three months for oh, 15-20 years. Probably longer. I take a statin for cholesterol. Every three months I run out of pills. Wouldn’t you think I could call the doc’s office and request a refill and go on with my life? You’d think that, but you’d be wrong. I go in. The doc asks the usual questions. “Any changes in your health, any new allergies, yada, yada, yada. I’ll send the prescription to CVS. Now, I’m gonna have you go up to the lab and get a blood sample.”

One little problem, my veins are microscopic. Only the most talented of the vampires in the lab can hit the sweet spot. And who do I draw? A newbie. I asked her if she was feeling lucky and if not, it might behoove her to have the chief bloodsucker on standby. She agreed. They both studied my arms with furrowed brows. “Back of the hand,” the chief suggests. Success, and on the first try. Things are looking up.

The day before, I had talked to a robot at the Walgreen’s pharmacy, also renewing prescriptions. “You can pick those up tomorrow morning after eleven o’clock,” the robot said with cheery false confidence. On the way home, I swing by Walgreen’s. “One of those is not ready,” the lady behind the counter says.
“But the robot…”
“We had to order it”.
“The robot said nothing about ordering it.”
The lady shrugged.

I decide to call the Missus before heading home. I have saved myself many return trips by doing so.

“CVS called.”

“Really? That was fast.”

Four people ahead of me in the CVS line, one of whom is having a lengthy discussion on the price of her prescription. Finally, my turn. The lady flips through a couple hundred envelopes. “Uh, sir, your insurance won’t pay for this for two more days.”

What? I could have argued. Demanded an explanation and held up the line behind me. I didn’t have the will. I was beaten, the system beat me down. And it’s not even noon. Happy hour is still five hours away…unless I cheat.

Published in: on December 19, 2018 at 2:03 pm  Comments (1)  

In Sickness and in Health: November 10, 2018

It’s been a while since we’ve had an update on Ruth Ann. Mostly because there have been no drastic changes, just little ones, agonizing, heart-wrenching, little ones. Like death by a thousand cuts.

This very morning, I caught her dumping cat litter down the drain of the utility sink. This is the type of litter that clumps when the cat pees on it. The same action occurs when it hits the water in the J-trap in the pipes. Most not have had too much litter in it as it’s still draining, a little.

Ruth likes her cream with a little coffee in it, specifically the Nestle’s Coffee Mate, Vanilla Flavored kind. I began to notice that she was going through a quart of the stuff in about a week. What? Come to find out, she was pouring it on her cereal every morning.

Last night, I prepared a meal with pulled pork on a bun, potato salad, and cole slaw. I got the plates out, showed her where everything was, and went in the living room to watch the news. Time passed. I’m hearing rumbles of frustration. A check found her putting the potato salad on the bun and not being able to figure out what to do with the pork.

I seldom leave her alone for more than a couple of hours, three at the most. I keep my pager in my pocket whenever I’m out. Problem: I’m half deaf (maybe 3/4) and I can’t hear the damn ringtone unless I’m in a very quiet space. I have it set to vibrate as well, but unless it’s in my shirt pocket, I can’t feel it. After a trip to the grocery (one of many. Someday, I must get organized.), I checked my phone and saw I had 14 messages, ten of them from Ruth Ann. She was trying to tell me to contact a plumber that had called, but she could not, for the life of her, put the words together. This is what I heard on playback:

“That guy called. He said something about 3 o’clock.”
“Warren! Can you hear me?”
“Why won’t this thing work?”
“Damn it. Damn it. Hello?”

That went on for six more messages with her getting more angry at the phone and at me with every attempt.

So there’s that. The urine retention problem is still with us, of course. The body plumbers, the day crew, are doing their job quite well, thank you very much. Opening and closing the proper valves on demand. But the night crew, those sorry bastards, should be fired. The routine for the past couple of weeks has gone like this: Catheter at bedtime. Another at 2:00 a.m. (seriously 2:00 a.m., plus or minus twenty minutes), practically every night. Another one at daybreak. The medication, Uribel, seems to work the best. Naturally, it’s the most expensive. I don’t understand how the position of the sun can determine whether to pee or not to pee, that is the question.

Once again, I write this blog not seeking sympathy or advice. I do it for my own mental health and simply to share the story for anyone that has an interest.

My new catchphrase? There’s always Ecuador.

Published in: on November 10, 2018 at 10:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Darn Unions

Simple logic concludes that my wife’s body is being overseen by multiple work crews.

We’ll start with the heating and air department. That would include temperature regulation (hot flashes, frequent complaints of too hot, too cold), breathing (rapid inhaling and exhaling when under stress), and the frequent change of clothing to deal with indoor temperature variations of no more than plus or minus one degree. This crew also controls such things as burps, hiccups, and yes, flatulence.

Then we have the electricians. A slightly higher pay grade that deals with the neurons that receive and transmit electrochemical nerve impulses from the brain to various body parts. The chief electricians reside in the brain, the control center. They are an elite group never divulging their secrets to anyone, not to doctors, much less ordinary concerned citizens. No one is allowed to penetrate this group, remaining uncommunicative and largely unseen, shrouded in a cloud of mysterious, misty gray, particles.

Lastly, and most importantly in my case, the plumbers. The plumbers control the valves that shut off or release bodily fluids such as tears, sweat, and unfortunately…urine. It is with the plumber’s union that I have the most problems. The tears and sweat sub-groups are not all that hard to deal with. A few promises, a bribe or two, and all is well. It’s the rogue urine department that keeps me up at night.

Lately, I offered them a new drug called Uribel. For a few days, they were happy and contented, opening and closing the appropriate valves at the proper times. But a few days ago, something changed. New foreman? Word from higher up? Another union taking over? Whatever the reason, this group has gone silent, refusing any suggestion of getting together with the condition of fair and balanced negotiating over the bargaining table. For the past 48 hours, they have refused to open the valves at the most inappropriate of times, spreading stress and turmoil across the entire company household. We’re talking middle of the night here.

As the chief COO and caretaker of the body in question, I demand changes. Let the record show that in the event that conditions fail to improve, I will be forced to consider a new position as chief photographer of hummingbirds in the cloud forests of Ecuador.

Meanwhile, my office door remains open.


Published in: on September 12, 2018 at 6:35 pm  Leave a Comment