Tag Archives: Family

Who Says I’m Not Gonna Miss You, Glen?

Sunday nights used to be family time.  Everybody would gather around the TV.

There's no problem with the picture ... it's a Google Image!

There’s no problem with the picture … it’s a Google Image!

Ed Sullivan

The Wonderful World of Disney

The Smothers Brothers

Glen Campbell

Glen pretty much introduced me to country music.  Not the hard core drinking-man/woman-losing-dog-died kind.  He gave me some of the most beautiful melodies:  “Gentle On My Mind” and “By the Time I Get To Phoenix.”  Songs that I still love.

Back then, I didn’t think much about the future.  Or about growing old.  My parents were old back then in the 1960s and early 70s — I knew they’d been born that way.  But the performers on TV would never get old.  I knew that then.  The Smothers Brothers old?  Glen Campbell?  Pishawwwww!

Time caught up with all of us.  My parents, of course, weren’t really old back then.  But they grew into that role, they passed on.  One by one the staples of not just my family but our world have faded.

Glen Campbell is fading.  As I write this, he is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s Disease; a heartless disease that takes one’s mind long before it takes the body.

The song makes my heart sing, even while it breaks it.  Kind of like life.

You may not miss me, Glen, but I’ll miss you.  We all will.

*     *     *

I first heard this song on one of my favorite blogs, The Last of the Millenniums.  Thanks, pal.

 

55 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Family, Health and Medicine, Taking Care of Each Other

Don’t Ask Me!

Of course you all know that I am a fake medical professional. So you should never ask me for medical advice.

But I am a real live professional patient. So I can speak from experience when I talk about medical stuff, too.

It’s all so confusing.

You know what else is confusing?  Taking your medicines so you get the most bang for your buck.  Or for your insurance company’s buck.  Or so you just feel better.

But taking medicines, especially if, like me, you take a zillion different ones, can really be mind numbing.

But there’s help!

October is “Talk About your Medicines Month!”*

I was recently contacted by Judy from NCPIE, The National Council on Patient Information and Education. She asked me to write a post letting you guys know that October is “Talk About Your Medicines Month.”  My sister Judy got me into the habit of doing whatever Judy said,  and even though this was a different Judy, I’m doing just that.  Because it’s important, and it’s a good way to make sure you’re using medicines, both prescriptions and over the counter (OTC)stuff the way you should.

But WHO should I talk to, Elyse?

Personally, I talk to my pharmacist.  He’s easier to get on the phone than my doctor is.

Besides, he always knows the answer to my questions.  Seriously!  Before I became a fake medical expert, I thought that all pharmacists have to do is count pills and put stickers on bottles.  I bet you thought so too.

Nope.  That’s not true at all –although they are damn good counters, I must say.   Pharmacists nearly always have PhDs!  They understand the chemistry, the interactions between drugs and between drugs and foods! They know what side effects to look for.  They know all kinds of things about how a body processes drugs, and what the drugs do to a body.  YOUR BODY!  Who wouldda thunk it.

Seriously, you can talk to them about all kinds of things:

  • Can I drink my daily 12 glasses of wine/5th of bourbon while I’m on this?
  • Do I have to take it before I gorge myself with ice cream?
  • Will it make me feel better after my wine and ice cream?
  • I’ve been taking this drug for 14 years and it was always white and oblong — why is it green and round today?
  • Will the drug that my GP gave me put hair on my chest (and if so, what the hell do I do about it?)
  • Whether stopping a drug cold turkey will turn me into a cold turkey

You can also ask them real questions.

And you know what?  They’ll know the answer.

Because pharmacists are even smarter than I am.

They're good at 'splainin' Google Image, natch.

They’re good at ‘splainin’
Google Image, natch.

*  Eat your heart out Frank (of AFrankAngle)

51 Comments

Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Crohn's Disease, Health and Medicine, Humor, Taking Care of Each Other

It’s a Jungle Out There

Since the video I posted about the wrong mascot for the GOP was such a hit, I figured I needed to post another animal piece.

This one represents thankfulness for healthcare.

 

It says it happened in “Columbia,” but I’m quite sure they mean in the “District of Columbia.”  Positive.

(My thanks to Father Kane of The Last of the Millennials who posted this video with far less snark than I.)

 

37 Comments

Filed under Campaigning, Childhood Traumas, Elections, Health and Medicine, Humor, Pets, Taking Care of Each Other, Voting, Wild Beasts

The Wrong Mascot

One of the drawbacks of living in the DC area is elephants. As you probably know, the elephant is the symbol of the GOP.

Frankly, that makes me really blue.  OK, bluerI am a Democrat and I love Elephants.

Republicans are nothing like elephants.  Elephants work together for the good of the herd.  They are sweet unless you piss them off.  They are gentle.  They help each other. They understand climate change.

I could give you a million other reasons why the elephant should not be the symbol of today’s GOP, but let me just show you this video to prove my point:

 

You’ll notice not one adult elephant, NOT ONE telling that little baby elephant to pull itself up by its bootstraps.

I rest my case.

 

*     *     *

Frank, of AFrankAngle is celebrating his 1500th post with a party this weekend.  Go on over and join him if you can.  And if you don’t know Frank’s blog, check it out.

AND IF you’d like to make my puppy Duncan a pinup star, please vote/donate to the Arlington (VA) Animal Welfare League.  Here’s my post with info:  http://fiftyfourandahalf.com/2014/10/01/vote-early-for-duncan/  I was going to do a widget on my sidebar, but UMMMMMM, I can’t remember how.  OK, so I am not technically minded.  Or minded technically.  Or able to do widgets.  Sigh.

58 Comments

Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Campaigning, Criminal Activity, Dogs, Duncan, GOP, History, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Pets, Stupidity, Voting, Wild Beasts

Vote Early — For Duncan!

He forced me to do it.

“Mom,” he said, “I’m a shoe-in to win the calendar contest.  When have you ever seen a cuter puppy?”

“Well, that’s true,” I responded.  “But you rarely stand still for pictures.”

Duncan laid down and started chewing his butt.

“I know!  Put the one of me in the basket!  The cute one!”

And so I did.  I entered Duncan in the Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s annual pin-up competition:

Their 2015 Calendar Competition!

Duncan in his toy basket

You can vote for me, or you can turn the page. I mean, click on another blog.

If you can, please click on the picture which will send you to my fundraising page.  Each vote costs $1.00 — any critter with 100 votes gets into the calendar.

Click here to vote/donate.

Or on Duncan’s Picture.

Or on the line above the picture.

Wherever.  I’m easy.  So is Duncan.

 

All proceeds go to help needy animals.  And to help make my puppy a star.

Vote Early and Often!

And to get you into the campaign spirit, here’s one of my all-time favorite songs.

Remember, ELECTIONS MATTER!

58 Comments

Filed under Awards, Bloggin' Buddies, Campaigning, Dogs, Duncan, Family, Huh?, Pets, Taking Care of Each Other

The Long Hall

While John and I were having a nice, romantic anniversary dinner last weekend – our 28th – I was thinking of another man. And another couple’s marriage.   And how, when you say those words, “in sickness and in health,” you never really know what you’re getting into.

As anybody who has read a few of my posts knows, John and I have been both lucky and unlucky through the years. I’ve had a lot of health issues that neither of us bargained for – infertility and Crohn’s to be specific. But through it all, John has been with me every step, helping me, cheering me, making me do things I don’t want to have to do.

Illness effects all members of the family, and changes their lives. Some people rise to the occasion, and some are brought down by it. I am delighted to say that I’ve been truly lucky to have this guy with me through all the , ummm, shit. I even nominated him for Sainthood when he survived a particularly, ummm, nasty point in my Crohn’s.

But the other man I was thinking of on our wedding anniversary was Charles Gulotta.  OK, I was thinking about his wife, Jill, too.  So don’t criticize.

Two weeks earlier, I’d finished reading Charles’ memoir, the Long Hall.

The Long Hall by Charles Gulotta

The Long Hall by Charles Gulotta

 

It’s the story of how Charles and Jill met, fell in love, married, and had a daughter, Allison. It’s also the story of a simple twist of fate that changed their lives dramatically, when Jill suffered a stroke during childbirth. It’s the story of how Charles went from a happy expectant father, to a shocked but loving caregiver to two very different people, one infant and one adult, with very different needs.

It is now a month since I read the book. And honestly, I haven’t stopped thinking about it.  The story sounds a wee bit depressing, doesn’t it?  I will admit, there are a lot of rough patches.  But that’s not what I found so memorable.   What stayed with me is a constant feeling of hope.

Often, when I’ve read Charles’ delightful blog, Mostly Bright Ideas, I’ve felt that he’s gotten into my head, asked questions that have been milling around in my mind for years. With The Long Hall, Charles got into my heart as well.  And I really think that this book will stay with me, always.

Read it. It is the most uplifting story I have read in decades.

63 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Bloggin' Buddy Books, Books, Crohn's Disease, Family, Health and Medicine

A Sunny September Day

“It is September 24! You’ll catch your death.” Mom declared. “You may not go swimming with your friends.”

“Moooommmmmmm.”

I couldn’t believe it. I’d finally, finally, finally been invited to the cool kids beach by Cathy, a seriously cool girl. And Mom was telling me that I couldn’t go. Or that I couldn’t go swimming, which was what people do at the beach.

We compromised. I got to go to the beach with a promise not to swim. A promise I was planning to break just as soon as it was out of my mouth. Mom wouldn’t be there – she’d never know. And she didn’t until much later.

Mom was being ridiculous, I thought – it was a warm September day, in the 80s. A perfect, last beach day of the year.

In spite of growing up on the beach, I was (and am) a rotten swimmer. I never really learned to get very far or very fast. I splash around in the water in something a half notch above a dog paddle.

But I love the water.

Early on I learned to back float forever. When I tire after my first 10 strokes, I turn over, point my head in the direction I want to go, and meander through the water. I watch the gulls overhead, see pictures in the clouds, daydream. It’s wonderful. Relaxing. Peaceful.  Not at all tiring.

In elementary school, Burying Hill Beach was where the cool kids went in the summer. It wasn’t my beach.  I was not generally invited there. But when school started that September, Cathy took a liking to me, and invited me to meet her and some other friends there.

In fact, there were tons of people at the beach that day. It was likely to be the last sunny, warm day for swimming at the beach. Everybody in 7th grade was there. Everybody in our class and all the other classes. The beach was packed.

For some reason I don’t recall, Cathy wanted to swim in the causeway that runs between Burying Hill and Sherwood Island State Park. All the cool kids did it. At least when the life guard wasn’t looking, they did. In fact, it was probably what the lifeguards spent most of their time doing all summer long – chasing people off the jetty and away from the causeway. Of course it was late September; there was no lifeguard. We were free to swim wherever we pleased.   As we stood there considering the other side, we heard half-hearted warnings from behind us, which, naturally, we ignored. We’d crossed to Sherwood Island earlier in the day. What was their problem?

Google Image, Natch.

Google Image, Natch.

“Race you across!” said Cathy. And in she went.

Ingrid and I looked at each other, shrugged, and dove in after Cathy, who quickly outpaced us. Soon, I was left far behind even mediocre swimmer Ingrid.

It had been really easy to swim the causeway just an hour or two ago. Even I managed it.  But of course, the tide had ebbed, and was now going out. And while the water looked completely placid, the tidal current was heading straight out. Fast.  And it took me with it, out towards Long Island, 30 wet miles away.

But don’t worry. Remember, I am a champion floater. Possibly the best back floater ever.  Olympic-quality floating.  (Hey, synchronized swimming is an event.  Don’t judge.)

I wasn’t scared in the least. I turned over on my back, pointed my head towards shore (I had long since passed the end of the jetty) and started kicking my feet and flapping my arms. I was making good progress, getting out of the strong part of the current. I was heading to Long Island a little more slowly. And besides, it was a beautiful day, the water was warm, the sky was blue. It was delightful. And I knew I’d make it back to shore. I only hoped I’d make it before dinner. I was supposed to be home by then.  If I didn’t make it, my mother’d kill me.

I don’t know how long I was floating, enjoying myself, when I was rudely interrupted. Some man just swam up to me and started shouting stuff to me.  At me.

“Put your arms around my neck,” he ordered. “And don’t be afraid. I’ve got you now.”

“Afraid of what?” I asked. “What does this guy want?” I wondered. Fortunately, I kept that thought to myself.

But I did as I was told for the first time that day, and held onto his neck. I must admit, that it was easier to see the crowd that had formed on the shore while my head was above the water.  What’s everybody looking at?

So the man towed me in, chatting all the while.

“You’re very calm. Some people panic,” he said.

Frankly, I was more panicked about having my arms around a strange man, to tell you the truth. That’s why people panic, I thought. It was quite humiliating, in fact.

As soon as we got in, somebody else immediately wrapped me up in a towel and started rubbing my arms and back as if I was suffering from hypothermia.

“I’m OK!” I kept saying over and over again. Why is everybody making such a fuss? I wondered.  What’s the big deal?  I would have made it.

I imagine I thanked him. I’m sure I did. Positive. I mean, I do have manners. I just can’t remember thanking him or anybody else.  I thought they’d overreacted.  (They hadn’t.)

It seemed that Cathy had made it to the other side. Ingrid, like me, had gotten back to dry land on some other unknown man’s back. I vowed to become a better swimmer, because it really is embarrassing to be hauled out of the water like a flounder.

I learned not long afterwards that Jenny L’s father had been the guy who fished me out.

Each of us went home, vowing never to tell our parents the story of that day. Nobody told.  Strangely, nobody else let our parents know, either.  Life was better when nobody was a tattle-tale.

But just like the promise I broke to my mother that day, I broke my pledge of silence.

I told Mom in 1982 when she was staying with me after my operation.

“What?!?!” she shouted. “Somebody saved your life and I didn’t even get to thank him?” She was mortified. Laughing, but mortified.

“You would have killed me yourself if you’d known at the time.”

“You are in such trouble for going swimming when I told you not to.”

“Mom, this happened in 1968.”

“… wait until I tell your Dad.”

 

*     *     *

 

In a couple of weeks I’ll be going to my 40th High School Reunion. I sure hope that Jenny’s there, and that her Dad is still alive. I hope that I can at last pass on my parents’ deepest thanks, and my own, for his unheralded rescue.

71 Comments

Filed under Childhood Traumas, Family, Huh?, Humor, Mom, Taking Care of Each Other