Untitled (which is a title actually, isn’t it?)

It’s taken me six days to remember how to breathe; and I’m still trying to master sleep.

At this point I will issue a product warning:  this is the season of Lent, a time when I reviewed all the things that I might give up; chocolate is a favorite, ice cream (that’s a biggie), when I was younger; sex (solo and shared).  This has ben a year of changes and reflections; this year I was going to take more on: more prayer (10% of my day, 2.5 hours), teaching Sunday School…giving, not taking on.  So I prayed on it, right?

Answered prayer is a bitch.

I am with the octogenarians, parents to my wife, the SWMBO.  I asked to do this(?).  Mom has been diagnosed with a cancer; it has metastasized to her spine…limiting her movement in shoulders, arms and hands and has brought on pain, pain of a level she had not known before.

Now let’s us introduce pain meds, fun for a day or two and then the hallucinations, the falling and an unpleasant disposition.

We’ll add in a heavy dose of denial, “mini-strokes” and the onset of dementia.

Do, do be sure you ask for what you want in prayer.

Communication is a challenge;  Drs. don’t recognize my status, they talk to Mom, I remind her of the conversations and I’m a liar, Dad’s in the room, physically.  “Dad, do you understand what we are going to be doing?”

“What’s on tonight?  Tues is NCIS?”

“It’s Friday”

“Mom, we have to be at the Interventional Radiologist’s office in half an hour, have you got everything?”

“I don’t want to go, I don’t need to go, I’m strong.”

“If you walk away from this fight without the weapons they’ll give you…you’ll be weaker in spirit and body and you will lose.  And you may very well die.  It will kill you.”

“Give me your hand and we’ll go get you signed in”

“I hate you.  No one is going to run my life.  Don’t treat me like a child.”

“I know…you can call your insurance company and see if they will cover a care giver you like…after we get you signed in”

Dear readers,

Did you know that there are things YOU can do to help a cancer patient, their family and care givers endure the time before, during ad after treatments.

Every treatment center waiting room has a book exchange with very limited numbers of old, for the most part tasteless, paperbacks.

You’re writers, artists and readers; collectors, gather books; stand up at your Starbucks and ask.  For those that are truly bold, volunteer yourself for twenty minutes a month and make sure that the two shelves on a small book case has something to offer…maybe your new tome.

Answer someone else’s prayer, qietly let them know that someone cares when they may in doubt.

Peace out

mw

The Octogenarians

I have referred to the SWMBO’s parents with humor in the past and hope to do so for a long time to come.

Today Marion, the octogenaria, called and asked to be taken to her Dr’s for a follow-up on an MRI done yesterday.  We were greeted by an ashen faced young doctor that’s lack of eye contact revealed his lack of preparation for this conversation.

John, the octogenaro, suffering from dementia, was for a moment able to grasp the gravity of the situation.  He was to be envied as that moment slipped away and he faced the world afresh.

New doctors were met.  Doctors with warm hand shakes, comforting smiles and caring eyes; they’d had many of these consultations and they cared in a distant sort of way.

Test were started, more scheduled and the process begins.

Cynthia, the SWMBO, the only child in residence, faces monumental tasks, beginning with waking each day and living.  There will be a time when she falls apart, shattered like a jig saw puzzle and that’s part of the process.  To find a little time in the day to put a piece in place, to understand the picture, the person, you are and each day you have a little more to offer.

I’ve been broken, damaged many times, lost most of , I asthe pieces of the this puzzle, I only seem to be strong…I only cry over happy endings.

For those that read this I ask for your prayers for Marion, John, Cynthia and all the people whose puzzles need attention.

peace out, mw

Emergency Response Times

In the midst of the second “crippling” winter storm to hit Northern Georgia in as many weeks.  The vigorous efforts of local, state, federal and military entities to improve response times and to keep our roadways flowing prompted  the posting of this earlier piece.

 

30 September 2017

Office of the Mayor, New Worldsville, State of Caution Her Honor, the Mayor, wishes to acknowledge the concerns of New Worldsville’s citizens regarding response times to emergency calls.  Mayor Weaver is confident that 911 calls being followed by 27 minute waits (on average) for police, fire and ambulances will soon be a thing of the past.

~

04 October 2017

Presented to the City Council receipt of delivery: 50 hood-mounted Laser Canons from Weaver Munitions Works, New Worldsville, State of Caution. Weaver Munitions Works factory technicians provided to install said canons on designated city vehicles,

~

07 October 2017

Directive to Chiefs of Fire and Police Departments, New Worldsville, from the Office of the Mayor.

Those vehicles that have been equipped with the new accessories will be the first deployed to any 911 emergency calls.  If in the course of responding to these calls, should any civilian vehicles not acknowledge proper right of way, use of their new equipment may be warranted and sanctioned.

~

12 October 2017

Notice from the Office of Ms. Darcy Weaver, Mayor, New Worldsville, State of Caution

Mayor Weaver is happy to announce at this time that in keeping with her promise of 30 September to the people of New Worldsville, emergency response times have been slashed to 4 minutes.

She is pleased, as well, to report that there are now over 14,000 employment opportunities available for those young people that survive to graduate from our fine centers of learning.

~

The mayor looks forward to the opportunity of serving you for another 4 years.

Drive courteously…and don’t forget to vote.

Edith Waycott Vogt, “Mom” Vogt, maternal grandmother, domineering ruler of all clans

 

 

Shakespeare was a visionary; he looked into the future and saw a striking young woman. He named his character Kate.  The vision he saw was Edith Waycott, striking anyone and everyone, physically and verbally, that got in her way.

 

In an age when it was not proper for a young lady to pursue higher education, she earned degrees in German Literature, Physics and mastered the piano (solo concerts on two continents).  Being mildly unattractive and more accomplished than most men, she was not popular at parties (and didn’t really care).

 

Mom Vogt had many stories, all worthy of The Family Jewels, but I have selected one that took place in mid-1942 and is set in the Brooklyn Navy Shipyards, Mom was in her late 50’s and weighed about 115 lbs.  Her eldest son was serving in the Navy, her second son in the Army Air Corp and her teenage daughter was driving her insane.

 

The shipyard was staffed by men, women, giants and dwarves, who, for whatever “defect” were felt to be unfit for military service; and a large percentage were functionally illiterate.

 

Mom had always felt the illiteracy was intolerable in any circumstance; race, gender or station; and at this time, the government agreed with her.  The war effort was demanding much f our shipyards; building new ships, refitting commercial craft to military specs and repairing the vessels that had already engaged in action.

 

Welders, fitters, machinists and riggers walked through the ‘yard’s gates each day skilled in their trades but these new ‘yards needed workers that could do their respective jobs with less supervision, mobile enough to move from task to task, ship to ship, they had to be able to read instructions, instructions that might be unique for each job; measurements must be made within exacting tolerances; shipyards needed teachers.

 

Mom Vogt volunteered, she, like her students, wanted to do as much as she able; for the war effort and her students.

 

Her first day as teacher in this rag-tag school was quite memorable.  She entered the room assigned to her; her students had already arrived and were greeted to a hollow voice yelling for help.  The class sat quietly, hands folded in front of them and resting on cafeteria style tables.  Twenty-seven bodies and the roster listed twenty-eight, “Help, get me out of here you assholes.”  No one moved there was no reaction at all, “Get me out of here, hello…teacher, get me out.”

 

In the corner of the room was am industrial size garbage can, Mom walked toward it, the call for help got louder.  Lifting the lid and glancing inside saw a little person sitting inside.  He looked at her unsmiling face cupped his hands round his mouth and quietly let out a “Help, get me out.”  At this point the entire class, the little man included broke into laughter.

 

As the laughter began to subside, Mom pointed to a huge young man, “Get him out, now.”  She looked at the class, each and every face and knew that she was the teacher that had bullied, insulted, been bullied or just didn’t care in their lives, the reason they were here.

 

“Class is dismissed.  I want you here at 8:00 am tomorrow and everyone bring a phone book.”  She turned her back to the class, gathered her things together, pinned her hat in place and left.

 

By 8:00 the following morning there were twenty-two bodies sitting in front of Edith Waycott Vogt, she glanced up, jotted a line or two in a journal before stepping from behind her desk.  She saw three New York City phone books (even then they were impressive).  She pointed to the little man, formally of the garbage can, “Get the phone book from the pay phone in the hall.  There was something in her voice that didn’t invite the word “no” (I knew that tone all too well).

 

He returned with the massive missal, “Pick one.”  A book was selected; she picked it up, returned to her desk, turned and faced the class.  She tilted back her bottom resting on the edge of the desk coyly crossing her ankles and with a little smile, a twinkle in her eye she preceded, with little effort, to rip the phone book in two.

 

“We will begin with the alphabet…”

 

The three intact phone books remained on the tables for the rest of her classes.  Every day before or after class someone would try and fail to match the teacher heroic feat and her twenty-two class monitors never allowed any disruptions during class; and they were very, very glad she was on our side.

 

 

For those that doubt this phone book trick could be accomplished; Mom explained it to me (understand that she did have an octave and a half reach, big hands).  First you fan the pages as if to show that the book is real, the purpose is to create a minuet space between pages.  Second you grip the book with your hands about three inches apart.  Draw the hands closer together further separating the pages.  Finally, with a twisting motion you begin to tear the book, carefully, one page at a time.

I have seen this done by various strong man acts in several circus side shows and always with great staining and displays of triumph; but my Grandmother had the power. 

Emergency Responce Times

30 September 2017

Office of the Mayor, New Worldsville, State of Caution Her Honor, the Mayor, wishes to acknowledge the concerns of New Worldsville’s citizens regarding response times to emergency calls.  Mayor Weaver is confident that 911 calls being followed by 27 minute waits (on average) for police, fire and ambulances will soon be a thing of the past.

~

04 October 2017

Presented to the City Council receipt of delivery: 50 hood-mounted Laser Canons from Weaver Munitions Works, New Worldsville, State of Caution. Weaver Munitions Works factory technicians provided to install said canons on designated city vehicles,

~

07 October 2017

Directive to Chiefs of Fire and Police Departments, New Worldsville, from the Office of the Mayor.

Those vehicles that have been equipped with the new accessories will be the first deployed to any 911 emergency calls.  If in the course of responding to these calls, should any civilian vehicles not acknowledge proper right of way, use of their new equipment may be warranted and sanctioned.

~

12 October 2017

Notice from the Office of Ms. Darcy Weaver, Mayor, New Worldsville, State of Caution

Mayor Weaver is happy to announce at this time that in keeping with her promise of 30 September to the people of New Worldsville, emergency response times have been slashed to 4 minutes.

She is pleased, as well, to report that there are now over 14,000 employment opportunities available for those young people that survive to graduate from our fine centers of learning.

~

The mayor looks forward to the opportunity of serving you for another 4 years.

Drive courteously…and don’t forget to vote.