Today, the 7th of December, is a day that brings back some memories...
Last year, at about 4:30 in the afternoon, I took a headlong fall off my horse and broke my wrist. Remember? (If interested in re-reading that tale, you can find it under December 2011 on the "Archives" page. I wasn't using the blog format yet...)
This was the next evening...
Besides the pain, I was rather disappointed that it was (at earliest) 9 pm by the time Daddy and I left the ER with my fractures splited. (That splint cut the blood off from my pinky finger something bothersome!) The reason I was so disappointed was that I had really, really been looking forward to watching 'Tora! Tora! Tora!'. It has been a family tradition ever since I can remember to watch the movie on December 7th and we hadn't managed to see it for the last 3 years. (I'm fully planning on watching it tonight. I brought our VHS player over for that express purpose!)
The morning of the 7th of December, 1941 witnessed one of the most horrendous attacks our country had ever sustained up to that point in time. Many men died that day as the USS Arizona sunk and the other ships in the harbor were severely damaged. "The day that shall live in infamy" is one that my family has always honored. This is a day never goes by without a thought of the past. Thoughts of the men who died...thoughts of the men who sacrificed their lives so that we could be free. I pray that we will not forget the noble sacrifices of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines--past, present, and future.
While I may have broken my wrist on the day of infamy, even while sitting in the ER I didn't forget these men. (That's not a brag--at all.) I wonder how many young people my age pass the day without any knowledge--or care--of what happened at 8 o'clock that Sunday morning 71 years ago. This, my friends, is a reminder to never, ever, ever forget the men who have died to preserve our freedoms. This is reminder to honor those men...and I don't care if they are 100 or 18 years old! You owe your freedom first, to the grace of God, and second, to the soldiers He has seen fit to bless you with. Don't ever forget that.
God Bless Our Military!
Pearl Harbor WILL NOT be Forgotten!!!
P.S. You won't get any smart-aleck remarks about the Air Force or Navy out of me today....
I broke my left clavicle yesterday...yes, I did. Right at the end, see?
Here's how it happened: I was attempting to worm Snip. I had him tied to an old H-frame. Dumb...dumb. I knew better.
Anyway, I got the syringe poked in the corner of his mouth and started to depress the plunger. Snip took to his heels (literally) and backed up with speed. When he hit the end of my pretty red lead-rope, he just kept right on going and busted the cross-bar right on out of there. Naturally, it went flying. The post bashed into me, knocking me down. However, all that is rather fuzzy--what actually transpired between the moment I started tripping over my own feet in an attempt to make Snip stand still and the time I was on my knees screaming, "Savannah!!" at full blast can only be guessed at. Suffice it say, I came close to panicking, but didn't.
What I do remember is staring down at my hands while bellowing for Savannah. I could move them, but they were numb and tingling, as was my head. What we think happened was that, due to the way I was standing, I got the brunt of the fencepost on the left shoulder. I'm positive is wacked me on the back of the head too, but by that time my shoulder and my beloved hat (which by the way is smashed worse than ever), had slowed it down enough that it didn't give me a concussion or fracture my skull. I do have a spot on the left side if my heads that bled a little. However, I didn't discover that it had bled til about 3 this morning!
I staggered up and started for the house, but decided to take the extra time to close the electric gap...no need for Snippy to meander into the yard afterall. By the time I stepped in the door and yelled, "Savannah!" again (in a weaker voice), my left shoulder and the back of my head hurt pretty bad. She got ice on me immediately and called Mama and Daddy--who then Skpyed. Granddaddy was worried and he came and sat down across from me--I was sitting on the coffee table. When I mentioned that needed something to drink, he immediately got to his feet and got me some water. I really did appreciate it, especially as I know how unstable he is on his feet.
Anyway, between us all, we made the decision to take me to the doctor. Turns out, I'm glad we did. Or else I'd probably damaged it worse. So....I'm in a sling. I went to the doctor this morning, though I didn't actually see him, and have a follow up in two weeks. They will x-ray me again at that point.
At the ER last night, they took me to the x-ray room in a wheel-chair big enough to almost fit two of me. The technican was nice and we kind of joked about it. I made some goofy remark about getting the 'royal' treatment--I could have walked down those corridors, but granted, it sure was faster in the chair! I also asked him, as we wound around, "Do you ever get lost in here?" He said that he had when he first started, but not any more.
Well...I'll see ya'll later!
First, the progress!
Grandpa actually got out of bed today and sat in a chair! If that's not enough, he also ate two boiled eggs for breakfast...(I have no idea what else he's had today--there have been no phone calls.) Now, we still don't know if the blockage is gone, but I do know that they removed the vacuum tube from his stomach (it went through his nose.) What I also know is that his stomach was soft yesterday as opposed to the more resistant feel that it had on Sunday. Apparently the food did not make him nauseous, which is good :)
The Dilapidation: A True Story written by Nate Rekrap*
It really all started last winter, when Miss R. was given a green horse to train. I found this extremely amusing as the little woman had been on a four-legged animal only enough times to count on her fingers. However, to shorten the lengthy tale, I shall obligingly cut to the chase.
Recently Matt, the wonderful professional horse trainer who has done Miss R. more good than anyone in her journey through horse training, showed our heroine how to get her horse to lower his head. (The reason Master Snip needs to bow his head is simply a matter of getting the bit into his stubborn mouth.)
When she arrived at the place to ride her horse, Miss R. immediately set to work getting the bit into Snip's mouth. (Forgive me, I forgot to mention the friendly bay steed came galloping down to meet her--I believe he thought it was supper-time...)
The technique: "First off, you have to put one hand on top of his head (in this case the left) and then grab ahold of his nose with the other one. With the left hand, put some pressure on his head. Pushing does better for me than digging into him with my nails. Once he gives, relax. Horses learn best through a reward system and releasing pressure is a reward. Next, once you get his head low enough, kinda rub him and then attempt to slide the head-stall up (I carry it on my right arm at all times). This may take a couple of trys. Eventually, I manage to get the head-stall held in my left hand and the bit directly under his mouth. This is the fun part...I give the bridle a tug with the left hand and try to guide the bit into his mouth and hold his head to me all at the same time--he'll throw his head--a bad habit. The bit will get in his mouth after awhile, just keep at it."
Ah, yes. Anyway, often she ends up walking in circles with him. It can be quite amusing. Please forgive me yet again, dear reader. I still have not gotten to the subject of this little essay--the dilapidation.
Like I was saying, after getting him bridled, Miss R. saddled him up and meanwhile was also running water into the cattle troughs. Then came the moment of mounting. Due to the girls short stature, she often hops on one foot for a minute or two while securing her proper foot (the left) in the stirrup. Well, today, after getting her foot in she started to heave herself up. She paused with a confused look on her face. "That was weird," she remarked, "my pants feel funny." When she looked up again she declared, "Rats! I ripped my favorite pair of riding pants!" And ripped they were indeed...the left leg had ripped right across the back several inches up from the knee. "Too much stress on 'em I guess."
With that, she continued her ascent and had a throughly enjoyable ride--or so I would say from an observers position. And that, dear friends is a woeful tale of dilapidation. I think that Miss R. took her predicament in stride with humor. That's one thing I have noticed about this particular friend over the years, she can normally find something funny to laugh about.
Alas, for the pants!
*For the uninitated, Nate is a VERY old friend of mine:)
In reality, Nate is actually a creation of my 8 or 9 year old mind...like I said, a very old friend. He's popped up over the last 11 or 12 years in various places, but most recently he has become a journalist. Nate used to ride his trusty four legged steed (a stool!) chasing bad guys who had abducted his beloved sisters, Isabella and Francine (Savannah and Katherine). His weapon was a small rifle (actually a put-put stick Daddy had made me out of cedar). Naturally, he always prevailed over the enemy :) And that is a brief, non-comprehensive history of my 'twin'.
P.S. If you want to know what Nate looks like, he looks just like me only with short crazy hair (afterall, he has as many cowlicks as I do!) Also his jaw is a bit squarer and he's a little bit taller and thinner :)
Ladies and gentlemen...Grandpa is very ill. When he was taken to the hospital on Thursday (or was it Wednesday?), we all just assumed that the medication he had been on was still somewhat in his system and making him unreasonable. That and the fact that we figured he was dehydrated as he wasn't drinking much at all and he had diarrhea pretty bad. The next thing we know, we have been told that he has an obstruction in his small intestine and stage four colon cancer and that he might have as little as just days left.
Last night and this morning, Grandpa had a bowel movement. That could be a good sign, but I'm not going to jump up and down until we have any better information. They gave him at least three x-ray's yesterday and so far one today (that I know of). Daddy is real put out with the doctor (as if I could blame him) for not giving up information before he left for the weekend.
Katherine and I went down with Mama to see him yesterday. He was sleepy and it seemed like every time he went to sleep someone would come in and wake him up. Because he was so sleepy he wasn't the clearest of mind. However, I didn't get the impression that he was sundowning. At one point a lady (nurse of some sort I think) came in looking for another gentleman (who was sharing the room with Grandpa). He wasn't there at the time and so the lady asked Grandpa if he was this other gentleman. Without skipping a beat, Grandpa said, "No, I'm George." (NOT!!) I said something to the effect of "GRANDPA!" (with a large grin of course, I know the old man and his silliness of this sort) and he laughed a little and admitted that he wasn't George, but neither was he the other guy. I hope the lady didn't get too confused, but it's something you have to put up with working around old men...they like to tease the nurses ;)
At the times when I wasn't in the room, I looked at magazines, read part of a newpaper, watched TV (did you know that info-mericals can be an hour long??), and did a puzzle with Katherine. I also evesdropped on other waiting room occupents conversations and tried not to look like I was listening. Somehow I don't think that that one group would really have minded in the least.
The day started before I was done reading my Bible, eaten my breakfast, or washed my hair. I might as well add, before I was properly dressed. I had just finished my coffee and was part way through Ezekiel 20-something, when Katherine poked her head in my door and said something like, "Mom's calling you." Now, Mom calling me at that time of day, right after her cell phone rang means one thing--head for the RV! I did and I saw why as soon as I got there. Grandpa was semi on his knees beside the bed (I still don't know how or why exactly he was in that highly uncomfortable position.) Mom got the gait belt on him and we heaved. Nothing. I was in a bad position for the attempt and I decided I'd be much more useful if I grabbed his legs and shoved while Mom picked up and pulled his torso. It worked that time. Next he needed help rolling over. (This not eating, drugged like situation has not been good for him.) Then he was laying on his arm. So I grabbed ahold of him and picked him up enough for him to get it free. After that we got him sat up and a pair of shorts on him. I had to do some lifting then too.
Mama went and got him half a mug of chicken broth. He drank all of it, but it took some prodding to get it all down. She then asked him if he'd like a slice of toast with some butter on it. He didn't say no, so she headed to the house to get it ready. (Daddy fixed an egg to go with it.) I attempted to get him to get up and walk to the table, but he didn't want to try until Mom came back. When she got back, I helped him up by hauling on the gait belt and I hung there until he was safely deposited at the table. He walked fine until he got even with the fridge and then he started leaning on it and things got kinda cockeyed. Anyway, he got in his seat and ate the egg, the toast, and half a banana.
Lunch time: He ate most of an omelette.
The time: About 2:10 p.m.
The Place: The Motor Home
The grandaughter, with her hair piled on top of her head like a beehive, arrives to check on her grandpa and see if he is getting ready for his doctor's appointment. Her grandma is getting ready to attempt to help him out of his damp shorts and into a 'Depend'. Realizing this is no time to be squeemish, the girl continues in and pitches into the activity. Afterall, her grandmother is incapable of lifting the man, nor should she even attempt it. Indeed, it was the girl that put the 'Depend' on her grandpa, modestly keeping her eyes on his feet. Four times, the girl hauled him to his feet before the dressing stage was done. As the power was out in the motor home, the A/C wasn't on and it was hot. The grandpa was red-faced and hot, so she gave him his root beer and he drank some of that.
Shortly thereafter, her mother arrived, "Is Racheal out here?" "I'm here!" the girl stated, "I figured I might as well come out and make sure he was dressed." "Good, I was hoping you were here..." A few minutes later, the job of getting the older gentleman out the door and into the car commenced. First, they got him on his feet and coached him in his walking to the 'co-pilot' seat at the front of the RV. Then the mother went and got the car while the grandaughter attempted to get him to move himself from the co-pilot chair to the lift seat. That eventually happened, but it took two people and some bullying from the girl's part. [Actually, it wasn't bullying. I was on the chair on my knees and I refused to move and basically forced him to hold his own and get his bottom over the lift seat before I let him down.] Her mother went to go talk to her mother (the girl's grandma). Meanwhile, the young woman squoze out between the seat, the lift, and the door jam so she could lower her grandpa out the door.
Once down, he performed well, only getting rather weak and wobbly at the car. The girl shoved him at just the right time to get him on the seat. Then she put his feet in and buckled him in, closed the door and wandered off so her grandma wouldn't have to worry about hitting her with the car (or vice versa).
Such is life. Honestly though, it can be somewhat draining standing around in a hot RV trying to get your grandpa to get up and not convince himself that he needs to sit down. Usually, he can hold on longer than he thinks he can and at times I push him to do so. Live and learn...I have learned how to deal with old people and hopefully how to age and how not to age gracefully. I've also learned not to be as squeemish as I used to be (not that I was ever really squeemish, but the idea of putting underpants on my grandpa is something I would have recoiled at a couple years ago.) I've learned not to let little noises and smells bother me, to be blunt with him when needed (brutally honest at times), to be patient (most of the time--I'm probably more patient with my "old folks" than with anyone else--besides small children), and to down right ignore some stuff that otherwise would drive me nuts. (aka--the bickering and sharp wit)
Oh, and I wasn't kidding about the beehive...
Yesterday, Mama and I burned some more wood in the horse lot. At the same time we cleaned up some of Uncle Rod's trash from behind the barn. Ick. Anyway, I had killed two black widows that were under the tree limbs. I hate those spiders. Never do that kind of work without gloves on--you never know when a black widow may be sitting there. Right after killing the first one, I had a huge gray wolf spider almost jump on me! I had the jitters there for a bit. I don't like spiders. We didn't get done burning wood, but we put a dent in what was there. The next thing that needs to be done after the wood is to put a fence up along the one side. Daddy had said that we would put Snip in with the heifers that we are going to wean, but I don't know if that still holds or not. Daddy is going to build a stall/tack shed contraption too. (That way I don't have to lug my saddle from the barn.) I hope to be able to keep the feed out there too.
Today I went to P.C. with Grandma and Grandpa. He had an appointment to get him ready for his upper GI endoscopy tomorrow. Anyway, Grandma wouldn't let me park the car, so I went on in with Grandpa...and we went on ahead to the ACC (don't ask me what that stands for). Anyway, by the time Grandma got there she was a little put out. And worn out. The appointment went pretty smoothly...I was able to help answer some of the questions and work as an interpreter...Grandma needs hearing aids worse than Grandpa (but don't tell her I said that!) When we left, she let me go fetch the car. I'm glad because she was tired out. (Her legs bother her and if she's on them for too long she has a lot of pain.) I got Grandpa loaded in, took the wheelchair back into the hospital and hopped in the car. We went out to eat at a place called Elana's and I am still full 4 hours later. (Unusual for me.) I had this massive chopped steak and onions (forgive my ignorance, but I thought chopped steak was steak sliced up with onions--turns out it was more like a oversized hamburger!) I ate the entire thing, because by the time I was full, there wasn't very much left. I rather wish I had gotten a box. It took a while to get Grandpa back into the car because he was so sleepy and believe me, he gets very slow and argumentative (though not necessarily always nastily so) when he's groggy. At one point, a hispanic man (with earings and a gotee--not exactly the kind of person one would expect to stop--based on outward appearances) who was walking by slowed down and asked, "Do you need any help?" I laughed (because what else am I supposed to do when cajoling my grandpa to get out of the wheelchair and into the car?) and said, "No. But thank-you!" (Since he couldn't really be of any assistance. Now, had Grandpa been sitting on the pavement...)
Anyhow, I finally got him up (the old hand on the belt trick really helps--I'm a pro at that [uh, that isn't even a humble brag...]) and in the car. Then I put the wheelchair in the trunk. That took two tries because I got the thing backwards the first time. It will only go in the back of Grandma's yellow car one way.
Almost the whole time I was riding in the car I was writing letters...it's easier to be oblivious to Grandma's aggressive driving if you don't have to watch. (Though I did keep an eye out at intersections.)
Now I need to go feed my starving horse :) I hope maybe I can go ride tomorrow--even if I do nothing but walk him. We both need the exercise. (I want him to fatten up, not me!)
That's a lyric out of a Johnny Cash song. I forget which one, but it's one I've heard several times over the last week driving Granddaddy's pick-up from here, there, and yonder.
It's very true. Life goes on. One can't sit and mope and do nothing without driving themselves insane. At least, I couldn't. Not that I'm feeling mopy right now. In fact, I'm actually in a pretty good mood. However, despite that I have this continual knowledge in the back of my mind that the next trip to the doctor may bring bad news for Grandpa...and us. He had a liver biopsy Monday. At this point we don't know the result. Tomorrow he gets a PET scan. (By the by, don't ask me to tell you the difference twixt a CAT scan, a PET scan, and an MRI. I haven't the slightest idea.)
Why is it, I wonder, that I seem to feel more 'domestic' when wearing a skirt? I don't know, but it's true. When I wear a skirt I have a tendency to feel more, well womanly and like doing things like laundry, dishes, cooking, etc. My cooking is woefully neglected. I did make lunch today though. Mustard greens (which tasted like they got over done--oh well, I'll eat 'em and enjoy 'em anyway!), yellow squash, fresh tomatoes, and the left over venision stuff Savannah made a day or two ago.
I also took care of Grandma's laundry, did the dishes, and took Granddaddy lunch. It really doesn't seem like a lot, but I kept busy. (I also read the WORLD magazine that came this morning too...that killed some time.)
I will be ready to head over pretty soon to work Snip. Monday he didn't want to move again. I knew it wasn't his feet because Daddy had trimmed them Saturday and he ran for me that day. I think he was just feeling lazy. I was getting really frustrated. I hopped off and tied his reins to the saddle horn and stomped off the 10 or so feet to the fence row. (He really is a good horse. When I tie his reins to the saddle he stands right where I leave him--most of the time :) ) Once over at the fence I selected a sturdy looking dog fennel stalk and jerked it out of the ground. I removed the remaining feathery folliage and some of the roots. After getting back on Snip, I swatted his rump with that stick and--boom!--did he take off. I smiled evily, "I think I'm going to keep this!" I did and used it yesterday when he started acting lazy. I'm still working on spinning, but I stopped using a suggested method--it messed him up.
I hope to get back into daily blogging...I may or may not so please bear with me :)
...are sometimes extremely sudden, unexpected, and unhappy.
Monday Grandpa went to the doctor. Tuesday morning the telephone rang. Doctor's orders: take him to the ER; his hemoglobin (red-blood cell) levels are way down. [That explains why he'd been dizzy.] So Mama, Daddy, and Grandma took him to the hospital--that was the start of a very unusual week.
Before I chronicle the week, I will tell you what is wrong with Grandpa. He has cancer. In his liver and colon. They were supposed to do a CAT scan on his lungs to make sure he didn't have any cancer there. We haven't heard the result of that yet. Today they are doing a colon biopsy. We still don't know whether he comes home or not...that really hasn't been discussed. Those who have spent the last 3 days at the hospital have had a lot of emotional stress, as have those of us at home, but I imagine that it's worse actually sitting around in the waiting room and ICU than it is at home--where we have been busy with life.
Tuesday, Savannah was sick so I cooked lunch and dinner--nothing exciting about either meal. Ran food over to Granddaddy, took myself to my therapy appointment, and read. I was going to go ride Snip, but I didn't feel like it after getting the news about Grandpa. I was also going to feed Granddaddy's cows...but Daddy had the keys for the pick-up in his pocket so I couldn't. Katherine and I visited with Aunt Laurie and Uncle Dave for a while (they were down here on vacation) and got home in time for me to wash the dishes at lightening speed (heh...I don't think I can actually move that fast). After everyone had bathed we piled ourselves in front of the TV for NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles. The first one was quite interesting and kind of strange. I am rather fond of Gibbs :)
Wedensday: What came first? I think I read some more. (Mom got me a book called Rebel Storehouse about Florida during the War. It is a good book--even though I haven't got to the Cow Cavalry yet.) Savannah made lunch (she was better) and we both took it over to Granddaddy for lunch. After that we came home and we ate lunch and headed off for therapy. On the way home we stopped at the store for a few groceries. I turned around and immediately headed off to ride Snip. He behaved better than had on Monday. [Monday he acted really, really wierd. He was behaving normally until we got to the back pasture. I know it wasn't the cows because they have never bothered him before. He stopped and would not move. I'd kick and kick and kick and more likely than not, he either stepped sideways or half bucked. Once he would finally move, if I kicked him again (to get him out of a walk), he stopped. This went on for quite a while before I decided to take him into a different pasture. This other pasture also borders the same ditch, so if there was something in the ditch that was bothering him, it would explain why he acted the same way in this other pasture. Finally I got him into a lope and took him out of that pasture into the front pasture. Once there he behaved himself fairly well (if you subtract the "Hey, it's quittin' time! I want my food!"). Anyway, it was really weird. He had never behaved like that before.] Anyway, Wedensday he gave me one more serious buck and once I got resettled in my seat I backed him up and backed him up and backed up. He behaved much better after that. (Backing is not his favorite thing in the world.)
From there I went to Granddaddy's and fed the cows (Daddy left me the keys :) ). Savannah brought over his supper and I left after a bit.
Thursday (yesterday) I spent the morning reading. Savannah had gone down to see Grandpa that morning and Grandma had been left at home, still being asleep at 10 'clock. She needed to sleep so Mom decided that they'd come home at lunch time and then take Grandma down after lunch. I wasn't feeling to perky so Katherine made Granddaddy's omelette. Being the only one home with a drivers licence, I took it over and watched him eat and then washed the dishes. He was watching 'Cannon' (a old TV show) and so I did too. Cannon was using a Snubbie ;)
From there I went home, ate lunch and then headed off for my final physical therapy appointment. I had a chuckle at a teenage redneck's expense while there. Maybe the poor fella didn't know I was laughing at his predicament... John (the head therapist) said I looked like Wendy (of the fast food chain) because I had my hair in pigtail braids. I don't even like Wendy's! He's funny though. I wore my spurs in since I was headed for the place I keep my horse afterwards (I did go home first to pick up the truck), and we got to talking about how the left spur slips down if it isn't cinched up almost too tight. (My left foot is just that much smaller.) And he actually got down and messed with them while I was riding the arm bike. I think he's done some riding over the course of his life. He also told me to continue wearing the brace while I ride. I'll take it off eventually...I was hoping that I could quit using it when I rode.
After riding Snip I went to Granddad's. Those goofy cows started running before they even saw the truck. They heard it coming and took off to meet it up by the barn. Granddaddy was sitting outside waiting on me to show up. As I loaded the feed, he began his slow transit across the yard. I had one black cow that was eating straight out of the bag as I dumped the feed out. I couldn't get rid of her! Anyway, that was kind of funny. Leaving the pasture, 'Bad Child' (so named for her ornery fence breaking last year) came running up behind the truck. I hollered, "Git out of here, Bad Child. I don't have anymore!" She bucked up and went back to the crush. Goofy cow.
I told Granddaddy, "Somebody will be over in a minute with some supper." (I honestly believed this.) I got home and found out everyone thought I was going to feed him! He did have left over omelette, but I figured they fix him something else. So Mom cut up half a tomato and gave me his chocolate stuff (a sneaky means of getting coconut oil into him) and sent me back over. I warmed up his omelette, some rice and chicken that was there and fed him that along with the tomato. He ate everything but the omelette. Then I gave him some chocolate (he loves chocolate) and came home. Whew. Yesterday afternoon certainly was something of a whirlwind. At least for me.
I wanted to go down and see Grandpa this morning, but I also wanted to be home this afternoon (horse and cows), and on top of that I needed to wash my hair. So obviously, I didn't go. Maybe tomorrow...