Sunday, August 31, 2014

Her Choice
An older woman that I cared for was bedfast. She did not use a bedpan when she voided. She asked for a urinal. She was a very clean person and I never had to change the bed linens when she was finished, so I thought, “Why not? The urinal was what she wanted and it looked as though she knew what she’s doing.”
Other nurses had this lady for a patient on other days and knew she used a urinal, but instead of asking her how she did it, they harassed me, the new nurse, and said, “Ask her how she does it.”
They hadn’t the courage to ask her when she was their client, but now they were pressuring me to intrude.
That didn’t set too well with me. It irritated me and quite frankly, it was none of my business. If that was what the woman wanted, that was what she would get.
Later that afternoon, the woman called out again for the urinal. I went into her room and gave it to her and I left. When she was finished, she rang her call bell again and I went into her room to empty it.
The other nurses were huddled around the nursing station, waiting for me to emerge. “Well, did she tell you how she does it?” they asked.
It was near the end of the day and I was tired. I was at the end of my patience, wearing of their harassing the newbie. My breaking point had finally been reached. I said, “I did ask, and do you know what she told me?" I leaned forward and said quietly, "She said that she purses her lips.” I walked away leaving them open-mouthed and dumbfounded.
I hadn’t really asked the woman, but I assume she pushed aside her external genitalia and pressed the urinal tightly against herself, because there was never a wet spot in her bed. To me it seemed to be a cleaner way of urinating than on a bedpan.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Don't Mess With a Boatswain's Wife
A huge navy boatswain’s mate appeared in the emergency department while I was stationed in Orlando, Florida. He said, “I think I broke my hand.” and held his hand out for me to see.
His hands were large in the first place, but when I looked, the fingers on his right hand looked to be the diameter of sausages or ring bologna. His knuckles were scraped and raw. The back of his hand was edematous and I felt sure that he had to have broken something.
As we got his records and cleaned the scrapes, he told us his story. He said, “I was at the non-commissioned officer’s club, some guy tried to “put the moves” on my wife, so I waited outside until he left the club and asked him, “What the F--- were you trying to do with my wife?
“I didn’t wait for an answer, but punched him in the face. He rolled down into a drainage ditch. I went down after him, grabbed the front of his shirt and held him so I could keep punching him in the head.
“You know, after you punch a guy’s head for a while, something gives a little and it softens, but his head didn’t.
“A couple of guys came down and dragged me off of him. They said, ‘Let go of him. You’re gonna drown him.’ I let go of that dude and they pulled me off and lifted the other guy’s head out of the water. When he came up he was spitting water and gasping for air.
“While I was holding him down and I was pushing his head under water, I was so damned drunk and so damned mad, I didn’t realize that I had been hitting the end of a concrete drainpipe and not his head. No wonder his head didn’t give.”
He gave a small chuckle and looked at his hand. “Just look at this.” Shaking his head, he showed us his hand again.

I was surprised to find out when the x-rays came back, there were no broken bones.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What’s Up?

I’m not sure why, but it seems like this is rectum month or me. Let me explain. In the past week and a half, I have had three doctor’s appointments. The first was with my PCP, just a routine visit, but I needed blood work.  That was the tip of the iceberg. He told me that I was overdue for another colonoscopy. That’s a word that makes a person jump for joy.
I called and made and made an appointment for the scope for the following Wednesday, today actually. I picked up the dreaded prep for the test on Thursday after my urology appointment. I had been having frequent bouts of urinary tract infections. That was the reason for my first visit to the urology specialists. On the initial visit, I was told I had BPH, an enlargement of the prostate gland which narrows the urethra and doesn’t allow the urine to flow, but it backs up and stagnates in the bladder.
I was put on medications, which has helped. This was a follow-up appointment. I was seeing a young brunette Physician’s Assistant. After the interview and exam, she gave the dreaded instruction, “Drop the pants and bend over the table.” I wasn’t tremendously embarrassed. The first visit I had a lovely blonde PA do the same thing. Also I knew that I was coming. I’ve been a registered nurse for over 35 years. Everything was status quo and I will need an appointment in one year.
Sidebar: While I was there, the nurse taking my vital signs and asking questions and I were talking. I showed her my book, “Tommy Two Shoes” and told her it was a mystery. It was coincidental that Thursday was her mom’s birthday and that her mom loved mysteries. She bought it saying, “I always buy my mom a mystery book and haven’t bought one yet.” She bought a copy from me.

Now, for the real fun; I started the prep yesterday with three laxative pills, little bigger than a grain of mustard seed. Later, I had to drink a large jug of Go-lytely laxative. Adding 850 cc’s of warm tap water and the lemon flavoring to make it more palatable, I stored it in the refrigerator to chill it and not think that I’m drinking water from the Dead Sea. The lemon doesn’t mask the taste well enough to hide the salty flavor. I had to drink 8 ounces every 15 minutes until it was gone. I managed to gulp all but the last glass, but I couldn’t force myself to swallow the last glass. There was no way. I would have hurled.
By the time I was half way through, the desired results started to occur. Each time, it was a race to the commode for an explosive emptying of the bowels. Several times it was close, but no accidents. This lasted all evening and into the early part of the night.
I had a difficult time sleeping. I had a headache and was nauseated from the prep and the pain in my head. I couldn’t find a comfortable place or position to fall asleep. I was limited to Tylenol. I wasn’t able to take aspirin for the test.
My daughter, Anna, went with me to drive me home. It’s over for now. Only one polyp found and removed. My gastroenterologist said, “Make an appointment for next year.”

What a wonderful thought. Something I’ll hate to see come more than my birthday.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Can You shimmy Like My Sister Kate?

When I worked at the hospital, oft times we would share photographs, or stories of family, friends, vacations, etc. When you work elbow to elbow with someone for years, you either become enemies or friends and for me, it was always easier to try and be a friend.

Della was one of the ward clerks in the emergency department. She was always trying new recipes with odd ingredients and was unique. She had been a baker in the armed forces. She met her husband, Barry, while serving our country.  When they got out of the service, they settled in Pennsylvania. He was a weekend warrior on top of his regular job.

She liked to surprise him and she decided to hire a belly dancer for his birthday. The woman was to go to his National Guard office and dance for his birthday. It sounded cool, right.

It all worked out as she planned. The woman came to the headquarters and danced in front of her husband and all of the others who were there. She shimmied and shook, her coins jangling to the music.

When her husband returned home, he was more embarrassed than he was happy. He told Della that the belly dancer did indeed have a belly that shook like Jell-o and did not ripple sensuously like the slender women do, but that wasn’t the worst part, when she smiled, her teeth were green.

This surprise turned around and was like one of those Lucille Ball episodes. Look out Lucy, I think you have competition.

The names have been changed to protect the innocent and to confuse those who aren’t innocent.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Will You Crucify Him?

Pure without denial, Jesus went to trial

Yet the crowd yelled, “Crucify Him.”

Barabbas was set free and of Christ it would be

That the crowd called, “Crucify Him.”


When the scourging was through, they mocked King of the Jew

Crying loudly, “Crucify Him.”

Parading Christ around on the blood coated ground

They led Christ to crucify Him.


From two trials was led, thorny crowd on His head

To mobs calling “Crucify Him.”

Guards cried, “Take up your cross. You’ll not be a great loss.”

And the crowd roared, “Crucify Him.”


A spear thrust in His side, made sure that He had died

In response to “Crucify Him.”

Friends wrapped burial clothes from His head to His toes

After others crucified Him.


A great stone rolled away as He rose the third day

Of whom they cried, “Crucify Him.”

Even tomb couldn’t hold the one prophets foretold

And of men who’d crucify Him.


If you’d been in the crowd with them screaming out loud

To Pilate to “Crucify Him.

And if you, standing there with their calls would you share

With their plot to crucify Him?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Write or Wrong

I’ve just finished the writing of the second set of stories for the Tommy Two Shoes series. I sent them to my editor for her suggestion and evaluation. Once she reviews it, the hard work starts. I will try to do rewrites and make the changes necessary to make the stories more relevant, grammatically correct, and flow better for an easy read. I love to put my ideas down for others to read, but it can be a long struggle to try and catch all mistakes and typos.
Now that I have sent it off to be proof read, I have been rewriting the memoirs from thirty-four years as a nurse, and the years as a Naval corpsman, and my college days as I studied for my bachelor of science in nursing. I am well over 250 pages and haven’t typed all of my notes as of yet. This has been a labor of love and still on-going. I am not sure if there is a market for it. Only time and my editor will help me determine that.

I have reams of short stories, notebooks of poetry, and tablets filled with my musings. And still the ideas come. I think I need a secretary who can read my writing and the salary is cheap to free. I have thought of buying one of those voice recognition programs that types the words that I say, but I have heard mixed reviews.
Once I am finished with these projects, I will tackle either of three books. One is based on the Bible stories of the fall of Jericho, the marriage of Rahab, the harlot and the lineage of David the king of Israel.
Another book could be a youth Christian novel of several stories following a young girl, her salvation, the salvation of her family, camping trips and friendship.
And the third could be a romance novel of a mean-spirited spinster that finds love through an orphaned young boy. When her heart is opened, she finds that a man who has befriended her over the years has loved her all along.
Above and beyond all of this are the poems of all sorts, but especially those of Christian themes. I hope that someday, someone will find a poem that can be turned into a hymn.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Oops, I missed Friday

I don’t know why, but I missed posting on Friday. I could blame it on old age, because I am getting older, but I did have a lot on mind. Forgetfulness is the reason that I started the blogs. I wanted to write down the stories that I heard of my family so that my kids wouldn’t have to rely on teir memories when I pass on.

Too many things that my dad and mom told me or that I saw were being lost in the bustle of day to day living and to preserve our heritage, we need to write down those stories for later generations. The stories of walking to school in deep snow drifts fighting bears is a bit of an exaggeration, but my dad, his brothers and his sisters did have to walk over a mile to school in all kinds of weather. It was a wooden, one room school and all grades were taught by one teacher.

I want to write as much as I can, because all of my mom’s family had Alzheimer ’s disease and it always something that concerns me.

I have a calendar with dates on it but I don’t look at it and I forget birthdays and anniversaries. I just missed my son and his wife’s eleventh anniversary and I am upset with myself that I missed it. I think I will hang the calendar in front of my computer screen. Maybe that way I will see and remember these things. I have a doctor’s appointment today, and I was thankful that they called last week to remind me. I don’t want to miss one of those. They’d charge me if I didn’t notify them and then I would have a devil of a time making another appointment.

I’m doing penance because I missed Friday’s post and I am doing a double post today. I apologize that I didn’t get a pot out on Friday.

It’s My Party

My daughter, Anna, decided to have some friends and family over to our home for a campfire and mountain pies. She had to work a block of time from Thursday morning until noon on Saturday. That left poor old Dad to straighten up the house, get some of the groceries, and with the help of her boy friend James, we cut and stacked firewood, set up tables and chairs, and moved the fire pit.
When she got home, she did have to wash off the table and chairs, gather the food and supplies, and bring home some ice.
My other daughter came with her husband Eric and their daughter Hannah, bringing the sandwich irons and hot dog skewers. Darrel and his wife Jaimie Johns were the others invited. It was a nearly perfect evening, a few clouds, but a lot of sunshine.
After we said the blessing, we started making mountain pies. Mountain pies are just two pieces of buttered bread with different types of fillings. The buttered bread is placed on the sandwich press, butter side against the metal. The press is made of two hinged, square, shallow cupped pieces of metal on long handles. The press is almost like a George Foreman grill, but made to use in a campfire. The press is placed on the hot coals and the bread is toasted and the fillings warm.
We had several types of fillings. Ham and cheese, pizza sauce, cheese, and pepperoni, as well as several pie fillings for dessert pies. My idea was to try to make a Reuben sandwich. Anna and James really like Reuben sandwiches and I thought, “Why not?”
We used rye bread slices, cut in half so they would fit in the presses. Between the slices, we stacked the corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese. I forgot to get Russian dressing and had to use Thousand Island dressing instead. I was anxious as my pie baked in the coals. I don’t know if anyone else tried to do a Reuben as a mountain pie or not, so this was an experiment. The pie was delicious and was the hit of the party.
I had almost forgotten how nice it could be to relax around a campfire talking, eating, and relaxing. Thanks to friends and family for reminding me just how much fun it can be.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday Again

I almost forgot what day it was. It is another day for another post. I have been trying hard to complete the last story for my new book. It will be a follow up series of stories on my first book, “Tommy Two Shoes; from mountains to more.” The things that Tommy has to deal with is whether or not he will reunite with a long lost brother, the death of his uncle LeClerc, an assault on himself, finding love, being left at the altar, and meeting a bikini clad beauty at the beach.
I am doing a rewrite of the last story. Hopefully, it will be complete today, so I can turn it over to my editor for review. The writing is the fun part, but the editing and rewriting is hard work, making it reader ready.

Recently, I have been trying to post photos of postcards that were part of my mother-in-law, Retha Morrison’s estate on Face Book. There are cards from the 1940’s until near her death. I would somehow feel greedy if I kept them to myself. They are a legacy that is meant to be shared. There are cards from the themes of history, war, places to visit and buildings and roadways. There is a vast array of cards, sent domestically and from overseas.
I was in seventh heaven when I found about 200 postcards. That will make my daily posts on Face Book much easier to do.
I try to share the descriptions from the back of the card to make sure that the viewer understands the date and where the photo on the card is located. Sometimes I dedicate the card, like today. The card was from Texas. It was to my son Andrew and his family as well as a good friend Debby, who is a Texan through and through.

I posted one yesterday of a local business that went out of business and found one of my friends lives there now. It makes me feel that it is worth the time when I have people sharing that they’ve seen the photo and appreciate it.
I’ve also posted photos I found from Retha’s albums of old relatives and places. Some have writing on the back side and I know who they are, but some don’t and I have to try to figure out who they are. One very old photo had a name barely discernible written in pencil. Using a flashlight from every angle imaginable, to the best of my ability, I think the name was Isaac Lyton or Leyton. It was a black and white photo of him and his family. He was at the center with a wife on his left, a daughter holding another daughter to his right and two sons in front of him. If anyone has an Isaac Lyton/Leyton in their genealogy, I would be glad to repost and share it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Throw Out the Lifeline 

My son asked me to describe my salvation experience. I will do my best to share it with you all. I was raised by a working class couple in a rural area of Southwest Pennsylvania. My dad was raised a Pentecostal with the speaking in tongues and my mom went to a Church of God, a Winebrenner sect of religion. I imagine my mom and dad chose the Church of God, because that is the religion I was exposed to as I grew up.

The church we attended was a small, white clapboard church located in the small, rural community of Clinton, Pennsylvania. The church had no running water, frosted glass windows, and an old, coal-fired furnace in the basement that heated the church through a large, centrally located metal grate. Dark wooden pews lined the center aisle, but many of the hand-built pews for the Sunday School classes were made of straight boards, painted a muddy brown color.
The building was surrounded by a gravel parking lot and several open fields and I can remember the bell of the church ringing overhead calling the people of the community to come and worship. Its congregation was composed of farmers, laborers, and retired men as members. The women members were mostly secretaries, mothers, and wives.

The unusual thing about the Church of God is that they believed in the washing of the Saints feet. It was an addition to the partaking of the Lord’s Supper, the eating of the broken bread and the drinking of the grape juice. Men washed men’s feet and women washed women’s feet. It wasn’t so much a scrubbing as it was splashing on water on the other person’s feet and then drying the feet with the end of a long towel that was wrapped around the person doing the washing and drying.

We were having a revival meeting. It was October and cold outside with frost at night and leaves turning, but there was no snow yet. I can’t remember the exact date but I was about twelve years old. The hymns and the preaching were over and the speaker gave the altar call. The hymn, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning” was being sung, when I felt a stirring in my heart, a calling. I walked down the aisle and knelt at the old altar rail and asked God to forgive my sins and to accept me as His child.
I’ve not always kept my part of my bargain with God, I‘ve strayed, but His with His infinite love, He still claims me as His child.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Old Albums, Lost Memories

While I was looking for something else, I found an old album of photographs from my mother-in-law, Retha Johnson Morrison. It holds old photos of friends and relatives. Some I recognize and others, I have no idea who they are.
I wish that she would have written on the back side names and dates, now, unless I can get someone to help, they will remain nameless and probably be tossed out into the trash. I hope to label as many as I can or hide them until they become antiques and someone wants to safely store them for the beauty and strength seen in each person’s face.
Although there is a place for color pictures, there is a special ambience to the black and white photos. The viewer is drawn by the expressions seen in the faces and not pulled aside by the color of their clothing or by the colors of the background. The eyes are drawn to the faces, the hair styles, and their clothing that draws the viewer back into the history of the moment.
For me, it causes me to pause and try to imagine what it was like to have been living then. I time where manual labor jobs outweighed the clerical ones, small time farmers fed the nation as well as themselves, and American’s were free to worship as they chose. The wash was done by hand and dried outside all year long. There were vehicles with horse power, sleighs, wagons, and single engine jobs topped with a saddle. Clothing was often hand sewn and worn until it was outgrown and passed down, or until it was too patched to be anything left but a rag.
Long distance was yelling across the street or valley or a written letter if you could afford a stamp. Telephones were just coming into vogue with party lines and the social media was found in the newspaper’s society page. Jobs were scarce, but we protected our borders. We welcomed others from distant lands and incorporated their heritage into ours. They came to be Americans, not to change it into the system of government that they had just left behind.
America was the land of hope and promise. It was a beacon for the poor and oppressed. They were welcomed if they entered legally, assimilated to the governing laws of America, and became citizens of our nation.
I know that everything is not in black and white, but the shades of gray have become the norm, not the foundation that our country was founded upon and there is no gray written in the words of the U.S. Constitution. It spells out exactly what the states are responsible for and what each branch of government should do and it lists the limits of those powers.

Let’s go back to the black and white of our forefathers.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Oh, What a Night

Last night, I went to PNC Park with a small group of people, but large enough we had to take two vehicles. My daughter Anna, her boy friend James, my longtime friend, Kathy, her three nieces, Sierra, Emily, and Amber made the trek to see the Pirates play the Marlins. Unfortunately, the Pirates lost, but that didn’t dampen our spirits.
This was the first game that James ever attended. He didn’t like to watch it when I had the game on at home. I understood. Watching golf and basketball on the T.V. doesn’t excite me however being at an event is much different.
Going into Pittsburgh, we took the Pennsylvania toll road to be sure we got there in time. Anna was following and was cut off by a wonderful, gentlemanly truck driver several times. He was hauling a huge I-beam. I know that they have to keep their speed up, but why he would cut in between when there was barely enough room for to squeeze in baffles me.
In Pittsburgh, we made a few wrong turns and finally found a parking garage. Pittsburgh real estate must be at a premium. The tight turns in that garage were extreme. Walking across the Clemente Bridge was a nice stroll. Musicians played, trying to elicit tips, the water was beautiful, and the crowd leisurely wandered over all lane of the bridge, traffic was stopped for the game. Carrying signs, snacks, and drink we made our entrance into the park and found our seats about 25 rows behind third base. It wasn’t the most ideal spot, but had a good view of the field.
One row in front of us was a young man and his blonde date. (No, I’m not going to make a blonde joke.) His face looked familiar and I’m glad that I didn’t ask his name, etc. When I got home I remembered who he looked like, it was the skinny dude on television from the T.V. program where two guys bid and buy unclaimed storage lockers, Alan and Ton. I’m sure it wasn’t him, but the similarity was striking.
Anna and I had made signs the day before. Hers read, “Raise the Jolly Roger,” and had the skull and crossbones on it. Mine was bigger and read, “Bloop it or blast ‘em, Just get it past ‘em.” It sported a large baseball and skull and crossbones. Anna’s made it onto the T.V. program, Root Sports, but as far as I know, mine didn’t.
However, late in the eighth inning or early ninth, the roving camera was taking photos of the crowd and panned over catching me in my mustard yellow shirt, Kathy, and her nieces me. Now, that was a sight. My white beard was waving in the breeze. I was surprised, but I had my moment of glory.
My sign had disappeared by then. It was a beautiful sign and didn’t want it to be a one time and toss poster. A man and his two kids had been sitting beside me and as they went to leave, I asked if they would be coming back again this season. When he said yes, I gave it to them. Hopefully, my poster will make it on T.V. even if it’s without me.
Food, friends, and fun, that is the essence of some of our memories.

Monday, August 4, 2014

I had a difficult day yesterday. When I woke up, I was feeling queasy, not ready to toss the cookies, but unsettled. So, I had tea and chicken soup for breakfast. Later I heated a few chicken fingers. Feeling well enough to take my medications, I did, about 10 a.m. There were some cherries and I had them for lunch. About 2 p.m. I went upstairs to get a tablet with notes that I was writing and it felt as though the bottom had dropped out. I felt faint, cold, and sweaty. The bottom had dropped out. Checking my blood sugar, I found it was 52, much too low for me. I usually get shaky closer to 100. I popped two pieces of hard tack candy, called Anna, and drank some Pepsi. It wasn’t long before I was feeling my rotten self. In the evening, I wanted to check it again before I took my nighttime meds and it was 237.
Just like the smiling palm reader who disappeared, there was no happy medium.

Earlier, while I was contemplating whether I should go to church or not, I saw in the field across the road a white cat following a large bird. I watched awhile, knowing it was an animal sanctuary and have seen a few odd things happen there.
As I watched, the cat was creeping along, stalking the bird. The bird would take a few steps and the cat would follow, edging along a line of weeds along a shallow ditch. Step, step, step, until the bird crossed through the weeds into another part of the field. The cat followed until the spot where the bird disappeared.
The bird followed the opposite side of the line of weeds and headed back into the trees near the edge of the field. By this time, I had gotten my binoculars to scope it out. The cat lost interest and the bird made it to the woods. In my binoculars, I could see that the bird was a large turkey and could only imagine what a cat/ turkey fight would have looked like.

My daughter Amanda, granddaughter, Hannah, Anna, and I sat on the living room floor and went through some old photographs, trying to divide them into family groups. It will be nice when they are all sorted and each child has his or her own storage bin of photos. Even with the drop in blood sugar, it was an enjoyable day. The laughter that we had while sitting and sharing memories will be another page in life, another wrinkle in our memories.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tired Today
I am sore and tired, so I will keep this post short. I had a load of firewood delivered and have been stacking it for the last four days. The first day, it was steady, constructing the racks to hold the wood as I went. The dump truck that brought it was a tri-axle. I asked the driver and he told me that there was between three and four cords of wood. It was dumped in my yard and the task of stacking it falls on me.
Over the many years that I have bought, stacked, and stored wood, I did learn one thing as I aged, keep the wood closer to the house. I have stored wood in about four different places in my yard. The first place I used was a spot about fifty yards from the house. I hauled the wood when I needed it from the place from the back of my property to the basement. It was a chore, especially in the winter, when there were snow drifts to my knees and pushing the loaded wheelbarrow became a Herculean task. Day after day it was necessary to have wood for the wood burner so I could help heat the house. After several years, I abandoned the wheel barrow in the winter and used a child’s plastic toboggan sled, so now I only I had to trudge through the drifts while the sled rode lightly in the snow. I did have to be careful that it didn’t tip over and spill the wood.
After about ten years, I moved the storage place closer. Only about thirty yards in the side yard. The snowdrifts were slightly less. That lasted two years.
The next place was on the other side of the house, only twenty yards away. There were still drifts and I got tired of that after one year.
The last five years, I have been stacking it right outside of my basement door. I still have to shovel out a path in the snowdrifts, but the furthest I have to go for wood is about twenty-five feet. I’m not sure whether I’ve gotten wiser with age or whether age has made me less willing to exert myself, but it certainly been easier on me.